A nationally known chef, a Maryland-based entertainment venue and three restaurants will round out the offerings at the Cordish Cos.' planned casino at Arundel Mills mall, company officials announced Thursday.
The announcement comes as the battle over slots at Arundel Mills, in which both sides have spent a total of nearly $6 million, enters its final weeks. Anne Arundel County voters will decide on Nov. 2 whether to allow Cordish to construct a 4,750-slot casino on a parking lot at the mall. Opponents of the casino, led by a group called No Slots at the Mall, are urging voters to reject the requisite zoning at referendum and prevent the casino from being built. The Maryland Jockey Club has financed the opposition, with hopes of steering slots to Laurel Park.
Bobby Flay, resident chef on "The Early Show on CBS," would operate a restaurant within the casino, and three other restaurants would occupy space at the casino adjacent to Arundel Mills: Baltimore-based Obrycki's Crab House and Seafood Restaurant, the Cheesecake Factory and Ruth's Chris Steak House. Annapolis-based Rams Head would operate a 300-seat live music venue, featuring jazz, blues and classic rock acts.
Rob Annicelli, a spokesman for the group opposing the mall site, said Cordish's announcement won't sway voters.
"You have to look at it in the big picture," said Annicelli. "People aren't going to vote on Question A based on a restaurant. This is planning and zoning law. This is about the appropriate location and where the least impact will be. All this announcement today does is confirm that they're going to exacerbate the traffic and parking problems at the mall."
Company President David Cordish, talking to reporters in his downtown Baltimore office, said, "This is going to be a world-class destination. This is not a slot box. This is something the people will visit."
The project, branded "Maryland Live! Casino," would be the state's largest slots parlor. Cordish said retail would be limited to T-shirts and other merchandise with the casino logo, so as not to compete with the mall.
Gene Condon, vice president and general manager of Arundel Mills, said the restaurants and live entertainment would complement the mall, calling them "incredible." A subsidiary of the mall's parent company donated $2 million to the pro-Arundel Mills campaign, called Jobs & Revenue for Anne Arundel County, hoping to sway voters.
"We can't lose with this lineup," Condon said.