Seminoles Unveil New Hard Rock Café Prototype

By Sandra Hale Schulman
 - News From Indian Country -

The first big unveiling in the still under construction Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, FL opened with a guitar smashing ceremony last November.

The new restaurant and retail area of the property’s expanded Hollywood complex are the first finished areas to open as part of the $1.5 billion revamp of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.  

The cafe will be a model for the brand’s redesign and modern open kitchen offerings at all the Hard Rock cafes worldwide. The Hollywood complex is over a decade old and was showing signs of wear.

The Seminole tribe were out in full force to celebrate the new café. Wearing bright patchwork skirts, shirts and jackets, silver jewelry and cowboy boots, they proudly stood on the new larger performance stage and welcomed everyone.

A traditional blessing was said, then the Chairman and President made opening remarks. After that they all stood on the stage along with Miss Seminole Florida and each smashed an acoustic guitar to wild applause.

Left to right front row guitar smash ceremony: Manuel “Mondo” Tiger, Big Cypress Council Representative; Marcellus Osceola, Jr., Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida; Stephen K. Judge, President of Hard Rock Cafe Operations; Mitchell Cypress, Vice Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida; Christopher Osceola, Hollywood Council Representative Left to right back row: Jim Allen, Chairman, Hard Rock International and CEO, Seminole Gaming; Jon Lucas, COO Hard Rock International.                                                        Photo by Sandra Hale Schulman

“Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood has served guests from all around the world for more than 14 years,” said Stephen K. Judge, President of Cafe Operations for Hard Rock International. “The soon to be opened cafe will showcase the modern progression of our restaurants and the future of the Hard Rock Cafe brand. This location is of great significance to Hard Rock and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which is why we are so excited to share our brand’s new design style first with our Hollywood guests.”

“Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood is leading the way for our incredible growth at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood complex,” said Auggie Cipollini, President of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. “The cafe will be the first restaurant to open as part of the expansion project and will be joined by the first finished portion of the new casino complex.”

The new cafe has a bright and airy design with rock and roll memorabilia in glass cases from John Legend, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Maroon 5 and The Black Keys adorning the walls, it occupies 10,000-square-feet and seats more than 250 guests. The former café in the original part of the building had a dark wood and brass railing club house feel, the new design is open and light. The new restaurant features an open kitchen concept with cutting-edge equipment, including a new 7-foot artisanal brick pizza oven and a meat grind room, where Hard Rock Cafe’s new steak burgers will be made fresh daily throughout the day. We watched the burgers being made and then broiled up and served with cheddar cheese, slaw and onion rings. Other upscaled menu items include filet mignon, grilled salmon and buffalo chicken. There’s a large triangular-shaped island bar and central stage within view of all dining tables. A small new Rock Shop with shirts and pins and signature mugs and glasses sits next to the café.

The cafe relocation complements the expansion of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, which will open in fall 2019. The new hotel complex looks to be a stunner, with a first-ever, iconic, guitar-shaped hotel and 168 upscale guest rooms overlooking a lush, “Bora Bora” style 14-acre lagoon and pool for swimming, kayaking, sailing and paddle boarding, private cabana environment; a 41,000 square-foot Rock Spa, 30 distinctive restaurants, bars and lounges; an expanded gaming area; 120,000 square feet of premier meeting and convention space; and 21,000 square feet of new retail space.  The new 6,500 seat Hard Rock Live theater-style concert venue will feature headline performances and live broadcast capabilities.  The new hotel complex is set to open fall of 2019.

This is all great news for the Seminoles, the undefeated tribe that capitalized on their Florida lands, business smarts, and futuristic vision.

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