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Seminoles Put Some Meat Behind Hard Rock Café Endeavor

Courtesy of Seminole Tribe of Florida

Most people know the Seminole Tribe of Florida is building a guitar-shaped hotel to upgrade its Hollywood property, but there’s also some work underway to improve the brand that has helped bring worldwide attention.

The tribe, which operates 12 casinos, 27 hotels and 183 Hard Rock cafes in 74 countries worldwide under the Hard Rock International brand, Tuesday celebrated the opening of a new-and-improved Hard Rock Café on its Hollywood, Florida, property.

Hard Rock International chairman James Allen (Courtesy of Seminole Tribe of Florida)

Hard Rock International chairman James Allen emphasized it’s the beginning of what he hopes will be the Hard Rock Café’s overall new focus on upgrading its menu and dining experience.

“About two years ago we made a decision to really get into the day-to-day business of the café business,” Allen said. “This is a second launch with a new commitment to the quality of food.”

The café’s hamburgers, which the officials called “steakburgers” are the focus, said Stephen K. Judge, president of cafe operations for Hard Rock International. He said a proprietary blend of spices is the key, and the meat is prepared fresh in a meat grinding room on location.

Meanwhile, the tribe continues cranking out its $1.5 billion upgrade on the Hollywood property, featuring a guitar-shaped hotel, which Allen said was an idea floated back in 2007. Allen said about 45 to 50 percent of the glass exterior is up and the project is on schedule to open in fall 2019.

“I don’t want to jinx us but we’re actually a little bit ahead of schedule,” he said.

The new guitar-shaped hotel and the existing hotel are on opposite ends of the property, and the new Hard Rock Café appears to be about halfway between them.

About 10 tribal members and guests participated in a “guitar smash,” an activity traditionally used to mark milestones in the Hard Rock history.

The Hard Rock Cafe is open from 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 954-315-9112 or go to SeminoleHardRockHollywood.com.


Nick Sortal is the Miami Herald's new gambling columnist and covered the openings, expansions, poker tournaments, entertainment and human interest facets of the industry for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from 2007 until taking a buyout in November 2015. He also reports on gambling on his site, SouthFloridaGambling.com.