Famed Restaurateur John Tunney to Open at Mohegan Sun


John J. Tunney III, a restaurant maverick who is best known for his high-profile, always-packed creations in New York, Connecticut, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, begins construction today on a 16,000 square-foot masterpiece at Mohegan Sun, to be named BALLO Italian Restaurant and Social Club.  This will be Tunney’s 12th restaurant and his latest after receiving three consecutive New York Times “Excellent” reviews for his current properties.
Tunney’s Besito Mexican Kitchen and Agave Lounge, with three locations in New York and Connecticut, was recently named the #1 Mexican restaurant in the tri-state area by Open TableOpen Table also lists Besito West Hartford as the #1 most reserved restaurant (of any cuisine) in the state of Connecticut.  This is no doubt due to Tunney’s ability to immerse himself in the culture of the cuisine and craft a property that embodies the spirit of that particular culinary experience.
BALLO Italian Restaurant and Social Club will bring Tunney’s same passion to the Italian experience with intense design combinations, exceptional service and a fresh, authentic menu of Italian favorites and new creations.  BALLO, which means dance in Italian, will also be home to one of the most innovative late-night concepts in the United States.  BALLO at Mohegan Sun was inspired by San Galgano – a Gothic abbey built in the 12th century and located in the hills of Tuscany.   The sheer magnitude of the project fits perfectly with the evolving grandeur and elegance of Mohegan Sun and its connection to nature.  “San Galgano represents all that is spectacular about Italy – the history, the passion, the fortitude of the country.  What better place to worship the food of Italy than in a place that replicates their mastery?” says Tunney.
Once in the high-impact, high-energy abbey, guests can enjoy a massive by-the-glass wine list, specialty BALLO cocktails and freshly prepared Italian fare from the open pantry while sitting in a cathedral-like room replete with Italian fixtures, fabrics and dramatic lighting.  Move further into BALLO and visitors to Mohegan Sun can sit at one of the largest carrera marble bars ever built or have dinner in the main dining area.  Arches, stone, sensual draperies and bold materials will accent this exuberant dining experience.  But the food at BALLO is the real celebration.  Tunney is committed to fresh, locally grown produce and innovative Italian staples you can eat from Noon to Midnight; “I’ve always loved the idea of a pantry.  A place where you are watching the freshest ingredients being prepared with the least amount of touch by the best pair of hands — and delivered in an open area as if you’re in someone’s kitchen.”
Once you’ve eaten like a high-roller, then let the Bacchanal begin.  At 11:00 pm on the dot, a rehearsed set of servers at BALLO will carry out a portion of the dining room furniture and guests will literally be able to “dance on tables” — Italian nightlife style.  BALLO will be located in Mohegan Sun’s Casino of the Earth and is set to open in the early spring of 2011. “We’re very excited about this new offering,” said Mitchell Etess, President and CEO of Mohegan Sun. “BALLO is a unique concept that will further enhance the experience we offer our guests. We’re thrilled to welcome John Tunney to our group of outstanding restaurateurs.”
Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, is one of the largest, most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and dining destinations in the United States.  Situated on 240 acres along the Thames River in scenic southeastern Connecticut, Mohegan Sun is within easy access of New York, Boston, Hartford and Providence and located 15 minutes from the museums, antique shops and waterfront of Mystic Country. For more information visit mohegansun.com.