Racino lines up Morton’s The Steakhouse for hotel

The Daily Gazette – A Morton’s The Steakhouse will be the marquee restaurant attraction at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s new hotel, officials announced today.

They also announced that starting later this week the hotel will begin accepting reservations for dates starting June 17, 2016 — though they hope to open it earlier in June.

The Morton’s is the first restaurant to be announced for the $40 million hotel, though the company is in advanced negotiations with a second restaurant to be located inside the hotel.

“Morton’s The Steakhouse shares our core goal of providing unique and special experiences to each and every one of our guests,” said Tom Weidmayer, general manager of the Casino and Raceway.

The 6,500-square-foot restaurant will have 160 table seats, as well as a 60-seat bar.

The 117-room hotel — with its upscale restaurant open to the community — is envisioned as a critical part of the racino’s plans to compete in a gambling market that will include the Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady. Rivers hopes to open its casino in 2017, but the new Saratoga Casino and hotel will open next summer.

Ground for the hotel was broken in May. The shell of the five-story building, with a Victorian facade, is being completed so that work can continue inside through the winter.

Inside, one model room has been completed, but heavy construction is underway throughout the rest of the interior, as reporters saw during a hard-hat tour on today.

“We’re only halfway done,” Wiedmayer said.

Today’s announcement began to fill in some of the details about the hotel’s operations.

Founded in Chicago in 1978, Morton’s The Steakhouse has 69 locations nationally. The closest, however, are in Boston and White Plains.

Morton’s is owned by Landry’s Inc. of Houston, a national restaurant company whose brands include Landry’s Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Claim Jumper, Morton’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mastro’s Restaurants and Rainforest Cafe.

“Saratoga Springs is one of the top travel destinations in the country and we couldn’t be more excited to bring Morton’s to such a special and distinctive community,” said Tim Whitlock, senior vice president of Morton’s.

Racino spokeswoman Rita Cox said the company soon expects to announce a second, more casual restaurant that will be located at the hotel.

Cox said the hotel will begin accepting room reservations through the Saratogacasino.com website on Friday. Availability will start on June 17.

A model room that’s been completed is described as “a modern interpretation of grand Victorian Saratoga,” with touches like wallpaper murals with Saratoga scenes and fixtures with blue glass like that used for Saratoga mineral water.

Director of Hotel Operations Corrina Milazzo said room prices will be similar to those at other luxury lodgings in the city, charging $400 to $500 per night during the thoroughbred racing season, and one-third of that during the winter months.

The hotel and restaurant will add around 150 jobs to the 600 that already exist at the racino. Milazzo said hiring for most hotel staff jobs won’t start until the spring.