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Mohegan — The Mohegan Tribe announced Thursday it has entered into a franchising agreement with Smashburger, a Denver-based restaurant chain, to develop up to 16 Smashburger locations in New England.
In a statement, the tribe said the restaurants would be located in New London, Tolland, Windham, Litchfield and Middlesex counties in Connecticut; in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester counties in Massachusetts and in Rhode Island.
It marks the third nongaming initiative announced in less than a month by the tribe that owns Mohegan Sun.
Previously, the tribe announced a deal with Arooga’s Franchising LP to own and operate 15 Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar restaurants in New England. Last week, the tribe announced the acquisition, through a tribal subsidiary, Northeast Wood Products LLC, of a wood pellet production facility in Peebles, Ohio. The subsidiary will also acquire a wood pellet production plant in Ligonier, Ind., the tribe said.
“After almost two years of careful diligence on diversification opportunities for the tribe, we have been able to see the results of our efforts with the addition of the Smashburger franchise to our group of new companies,” Kevin Brown, the Mohegan Tribal Council chairman, said in a statement. “We chose this brand because of its superior product offering and its reputation as one of the fastest-growing and most successful franchises in the United States.”
Smashburger, which describes itself as “a leading fast casual ‘better burger’ restaurant, operates more than 270 corporate and franchise restaurants in 30 states and in four foreign countries. The restaurants offer “smashed to order” burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, signature side items and hand-spun Häagen-Dazs shakes.
The company’s partnership with the Mohegans will enable it to expand its Northeast footprint, Matt Stanton, vice president of development and strategy for Smashburger, said.
“This opportunity was one that is a perfect fit for our brand,” he said. “With the experience of the tribe and our desire to find experienced multi-unit operators to grow with, we know this partnership will be one that aligns with our growth plans for Smashburger.”