Major Property Improvements


APRIL 28, 2016



Onamia, Minn. and Hinckley, Minn.  – It’s been 25 years since the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe first launched its flagship Grand Casino brand, and to mark the occasion, Grand Casino announced today it is making significant investments in property enhancements at both Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley to improve the guest experience. 


“Twenty-five years ago, the Mille Lacs Band had a vision of what Grand Casino Mille Lacs could contribute to the Mille Lacs area, but few people could have imagined how significant that impact would become,” said Joe Nayquonabe, Jr., CEO of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, which owns and operates both Grand Casino properties. “When a business approaches a large milestone anniversary like this, you often think of what else could be. And I’m thrilled to announce today that we have big plans in store for Grand Casino.”


Re-Concepting the Food & Beverage Experience

A significant part of Grand Casino property enhancements will focus on food and beverage venues.


At Grand Casino Mille Lacs, the former Woodlands Steakhouse space will be replaced by a new concept called Brand Burger Bar. This 4,600 sq. ft. sports-centric restaurant will be an ode to sports fans where Guests can place their favorite burger order and settle in for a fun, community-based viewing of their favorite sports events. There will be over 35 big screen TV’s and a bar-style seating area will feature popular slot machines.


The Grand Northern Grill will be replaced by a new concept called the 1991 Kitchen. This 7,075 sq. ft. casual 24-hour restaurant will be sit-down service and will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner comfort foods with a twist.


At Grand Casino Hinckley, a 7,425 sq. ft. diner will be built near the entrance of the Events and Convention Center. Keeping up with the American tradition, Stories Diner will quickly become “the spot” for locals and Guests alike, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner favorites while embracing the everybody-knows-your-name service.


MLCV also plans to introduce a Rival House Sporting Parlour, which is their successful game and fun-themed restaurant in its DoubleTree hotel in St. Paul. The 13,130 sq. ft. Grand Casino version will include bowling lanes, pool tables and other popular games along with Rival House staples like craft beer and shareable plates.


Renovations will also take place at the Grand Grill Americana. In its place will be a 10,301 sq. ft. Lola’s Taphouse, a restaurant serving Minnesota’s favorite craft brews and popular ales accompanied by a delicious menu serving simple, well-prepared gastro-pub fare that will include an extended selection of shareables, sandwiches, burgers and entrees. 


The Grand Buffets will also be refreshed and rebranded as Grand Provisions at both Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley. This food hall concept is a multifaceted culinary marketplace that will feature multiple distinct kitchens at each property offering a variety of American, Mexican, Italian and Asian inspired meals, along with home-made pastries and dessert selections. Diners can roam from station to station and select the food they wish then pay for it in one transaction. What separates this concept from other food halls is the restaurant’s ability to flip to a unique all-you-care-to-eat buffet on Fridays, Saturdays and special occasions that allows Grand Casino Guests to enjoy their beloved favorites like the popular Seafood buffet.


“Grand Casino is known for our food offerings. We have people that travel from miles away to share a meal with us,” said Tracy Sam, general manager of Grand Casino Mille Lacs. “We knew we could make that experience even better and the improvements we announced today will really raise the bar for dining in the region.”


Another main focus of this project will be the gaming floors at each casino. Mel Towle, General Manager of Grand Casino Hinckley said that a complete floor to ceiling renovation will take place at each property. “Everything from the ceiling and light fixtures to the wall treatments, carpet and property signage will be upgraded.”


Other Upgrades

Additional enhancements include:

  • A new Associate dining area and break space at the Grand Casino Mille Lacs property
  • A new pool area at Grand Casino Hinckley


“These improvements underscore our commitment to providing the best experience for our loyal Guests and Associates,” said Nayquonabe. “This is quite an undertaking that we are excited to begin, and we look forward to celebrating our continued success as we unveil each new upgrade.” 


About Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley

Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley are owned by Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures. The casinos feature gaming, accommodations, dining, conference and banquet facilities, live entertainment, and The Grand Harmony Spa and Grand National Golf Club at Grand Casino Hinckley.  The casinos directly employ more than 3,000 people and cover more than 4,000 people with their insurance plan.  The Band taxes these entities at 100 percent and utilizes the revenues to provide health care, education, and other programs and services to Band members.  The Band also invests in infrastructure and economic development that directly benefit the entire community.