Foxwoods mall will displace MGM Grand steakhouse

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Mashantucket - Craftsteak, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio's popular restaurant at MGM Grand at Foxwoods, will close early next year, a casualty of the outlet mall being built between MGM Grand and Foxwoods Resort Casino's Grand Pequot Tower.

The indoor entrance to the mall on the MGM Grand side will use space now occupied by the restaurant, Jens Baake, Foxwoods' vice president of food and beverage, said Thursday.

Craftsteak's corporate owner, Craft Worldwide Holdings, has filed advance notice of the closing with the state Department of Labor, as required by the U.S. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The so-called WARN notice, listed on the labor department's web site, indicates the restaurant's Feb. 2 closing will cost 54 employees their jobs.

Craftsteak's general manager, Thomas Timmons, referred questions to a corporate executive in New York who did not return a call. In an email, a public relations spokeswoman said the company "has no comment."

Craftsteak has been a fixture at MGM Grand at Foxwoods since 2008.

"It's all to do with where the mall entrance is going to be," Baake said of the restaurant's closing. "Craftsteak has really added a lot of value to our dining experience but the mall had to go somewhere."

The 312,000-square-foot mall, the Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods, is expected to be completed in early 2015. Groundbreaking took place in September.

Baake said Foxwoods had no other spot for Craftsteak.

The Foxwoods side of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe-owned casino complex already has two steakhouses, Cedars and David Burke Prime, and there was no other suitable space on the MGM Grand side, he said.

Come February, Foxwoods will have to survive with one less restaurant, at least for a time.

"It's certainly a loss," Baake said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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