Arooga's is set to break ground in Connecticut next week, its first location outside of Central Pennsylvania.
The restaurant chain will kick off construction Tuesday adjacent to the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. The location is part of a franchise agreement with the Mohegan Tribe that will nearly triple the brand’s overall footprint. The deal calls for a minimum of 15 restaurants in the New England market over the next five years as Arooga's partners with the gambling titans.
Terms of the franchise agreement were not released, but Mohegan Sun officials are reportedly pursuing several alternative business strategies as gaming revenues decline.
The average Arooga’s costs between $592,500 to $1,685,000 to open, the restaurant reports. Initial investment costs range from $362,500 to $1,139,000. This includes the initial franchise fee of $35,000, three months’ rent, leasehold improvements, equipment and three months’ working capital for the location.
Arooga’s will open its ninth local location in September, in Shippensburg. The Susquehanna Township-based casual restaurant chain, known for its wings and wall-to-wall sports programming, is also celebrating its sixth anniversary.
“It’s been a great six years, but we’re just getting started,” said Gary Huether, Jr., president and co-founder of Arooga’s Management LLC, the general partner of Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar Holdings LP. “From day one, we felt like we had a world-class brand. We look forward to taking our great concept to other areas, but we remain proud of our Harrisburg roots and look forward to celebrating our big day with our closest friends at our original Arooga’s on Route 22.”
The Uncasville restaurant will be a 9,000-square-foot facility that can seat up to 300 people, Arooga's has said. It will be located in the parking lot of Mohegan Sun’s 185-acre casino, the world’s second-largest casino resort.
The Mohegan deal calls for restaurants in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, Huether has said.
To celebrate its sixth anniversary, Arooga's has collaborated with Enola-based Pizza Boy Brewing Co. to create Arooga’s Wingstinguisher IPA. A weekendlong celebration will include free beer samples, 49-cent wings and other activities at Arooga’s original location, 7025 Allentown Blvd., Harrisburg. Pizza Boy owner Al Kominski will tap the Wingstinguisher IPA at 5:30 p.m. July 25.
"At the request of the Arooga’s team, we brewed a 6.8-percent, West Coast-style red IPA," he said. "Dry hopped with citra, simcoe and bravo hops, it has a moderate bitterness and light citrus finish to compliment your favorite wing flavor or burger."