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Yankees, Seminole Tribe strike steak house deal

New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez appears during a conference Wednesday in New York where the Yankees and the Seminole Tribe of Florida announced restaurant deals.

Associated Press

New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez appears during a conference Wednesday in New York where the Yankees and the Seminole Tribe of Florida announced restaurant deals.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the New York Yankees will team up to build a chain of high-end steak houses, the first opening next spring in the new Yankee Stadium.

NYY Steak will be based on Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, the top-shelf restaurant for big spenders at the tribe's Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood. The tribe also will build a Hard Rock Cafe at the new stadium, across the street from the team's original home in the Bronx.

The deals, announced Wednesday by Seminole and team executives at the new Yankee Stadium, demonstrate the tribe's growing financial muscle. Bankrolled by their Florida casinos, the Seminoles paid $965-million last year for the Hard Rock chain of 127 owned or licensed restaurants and three hotels.

"This is a great marriage of two iconic brands," said James Allen, CEO of Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment. The tribe plans to open at least 25 NYY Steak restaurants at Hard Rock Hotels, including ones under construction in Panama, Dubai, Macao, Palm Springs, Calif., and Atlanta, Allen told the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale.

NYY Steak will reflect the understated decor and choice menu of Council Oak, where customers pay $38.75 for a 10-ounce, bone-in filet mignon and $48.50 for Alaskan King Crab flown in fresh from the Bering Sea.

A mutual friend connected Allen with Yankees executives searching for a high-end restaurant partner. Members of owner George Steinbrenner's family and Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost dined at the Council Oak in Tampa and Hollywood. They picked the Seminoles over more than 50 restaurants and celebrity chefs, Allen said.

Tuesday, slugger Alex Rodriguez autographed a 9-foot Gibson guitar painted in Yankee pinstripes and the tribe donated 26 regular-sized guitars — one for each of the team's world championships — to New York-area charities.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Revenue growth rate slows

Revenue at the nation's Indian casinos grew 5 percent in 2007, slower than in years past but still outpacing the growth rate at Nevada casinos amid a sluggish economy. Figures from the National Indian Gaming Commission show that Indian casinos took in $26-billion in gambling revenue in 2007, up from $24.9-billion.

Yankees, Seminole Tribe strike steak house deal 06/18/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 20, 2008 4:24pm]
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