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Lucky Eagle Casino

Big changes ahead

Lucky Eagle Casino will be revamping its restaurants. Courtesy photo

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For Thurston County and Joint Base Lewis-McChord residents, Lucky Eagle Casino is one of the key places to go for great gaming, but it's also an entertainment and dining destination. Whether Lucky Eagle is your place to be, or you've never been before, 2015 has a lot in store. The casino is undergoing a major construction project aimed at expanding its gaming space, upping the ante on its restaurants, and more.

"We made a commitment when I first opened this property up for the tribe 20 years ago that we would be a property that would provide many other amenities other than just gaming for the non-gaming public, so this follows through with that commitment with the restaurants and venues," says John Setterstrom, Lucky Eagle CEO. "When the public sees what we've done, they're going to be very excited. This is something new we're doing for them."

Lucky Eagle's expansion project is driven - above all - by taking some of the top gaming venue trends in the country and bringing them to the Northwest. Many of the changes have not been seen in the Northwest before. Some of these changes are still under wraps, but count on all good things. One of the key changes coming is an all-new buffet.

"I'll give a little tickler because I want to keep it a little bit of a surprise," says Setterstrom. "What we did was we went down to Southern Nevada and took a culinary team and a couple of my officers, and we went to the newly opened buffets and restaurants in Las Vegas to see the newest concepts. We handpicked a lot of those concepts to bring them up here; it's in the presentation and how things are served. It's not like a buffet where you see food in big pans. Instead foods are presented as you might see in a restaurant. I'll give you one other thing that hasn't been seen up here - we're building a salmon pit right in the middle of the buffet."

During the construction process, there will be an inexpensive buffet set up to tide visitors over. The revamped buffet isn't all that's coming in terms of dining space - there will also be a brand new, state-of-the-art sports bar and grill and a new lounge. All in all, the project will add 41,000 feet of gaming, restaurant and support space, 8,600 square feet of administrative space, and a 120,000 square foot parking garage, as well as total about $40 million. The parking garage even integrates innovative elements, namely that it will be situated directly over the expanded casino. This means quick access from the parking garage to the casino via an elevator, much like most casino parking garages in Vegas.

The construction will continue throughout 2015, take a break for the holidays later this year, and then continue after that. However, construction is designed to be low-impact on visitors so there will always be restaurants and gaming space open throughout the process.

The casino features more than 1,000 slot machines as well as a full lineup of table games from blackjack to craps. Buses run from locations throughout the South Sound to the casino, if you don't want to worry about driving, and departure locations can be found on the casino's website. Alternately, you can stay the night in one of the attached hotel rooms.

A unique facet of the Lucky Eagle is that it has a casino space for 18 to 20 year olds so younger servicemembers can spend an evening out at the casino. There's also a smaller non-smoking casino with its own entrance and café, with a new air filter that keeps air quality high.

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is owned and operated by the Chehalis Tribe. The Lucky Eagle Casino is at 12888 188th Ave. SW in Rochester. For more information, go to www.luckyeagle.com/.

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