Nassau County is getting another place for games and grub.
Joe Alagna plans to open the second Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar franchise on Long Island — this time in Rockville Centre, said Gary Huether, co-founder and president of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based chain.
Alagna also owns the first Arooga’s on Long Island, which opened in 2016 in Patchogue.
Arooga’s is taking over the space that Cannon’s Blackthorn, an Irish pub, occupied before closing in March. While no opening date has been set for Arooga’s, the plan is to open by September in time for football season — of course.
Dennis McCoy, Senior Director in the Melville real estate office of NAI Long Island, represented Arooga’s in a lease signing for 4,876 square feet of space in Rockville Centre, at 49 North Village Ave. The site was a good choice partly because it is next to an LIRR station, Huether said.
There are 19 Arooga’s locations in seven states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut, but that’s going to change.
Alagna plans to open a total of 10 Arooga’s on Long Island by 2025, Huether said. “We have 50 deals coming through multiple franchise partners . . . up and down the East Coast,” he said.
Arooga’s focuses on high-quality food, including many organic items, and the Rockville Centre location will have 44 beers on draft and more than 50 TVs, he said.
“It’s a sports bar, but an elevated sports bar, if you will,” he said.
Arooga’s expansion plan falls in line with what’s going on with sports bars nationwide — their growth has been outpacing that of the restaurant industry, especially casual-dining restaurants, according to a restaurant industry expert.
Not only do sports bars tend to have more success with regional growth, they also have greater appeal to younger consumers, said Darren Tristano, chief executive of CHD-Expert Americas, the Chicago office of a France-based restaurant industry research group.
“They are more of a destination for events and align with the social interaction and grazing trends of the millennial. There is also a focus on adult [beverages], including wine, craft beer and cocktails,” he said.
The leader in the sports bar segment last year was Buffalo Wild Wings, with $3.8 billion in sales and 1,200 restaurants, followed by Hooters, with $850 million in sales and 340 locations, Tristano said.
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