Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is gearing up to debut a new restaurant project, with a creative culinary director whose pedigree we're not mad at. Not even a little.
Chef Frank Anderson — who's led the kitchens of Animal and Son of a Gun, two James Beard-awarded eateries from acclaimed Los Angeles chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook — recently joined the Tampa casino and hotel to develop The Rez Grill. Opening Dec. 14 in the new Mezzanine Level Casino, the 120-seat Rez is set to cook a varied, thoughtful lineup of elevated comfort food.
According to Joe Lupo, president of Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, the team met Anderson through Alex Becker, creative culinary director at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.
"The two had developed a relationship several years ago while working together in Los Angeles," said Lupo. "After being introduced to Frank, we felt he would be a great fit for Seminole Hard Rock Tampa's culture. He is a superior chef and culinarian and his experience from Animal and Son of a Gun made this a perfect match for all involved."
Spotlighting locally sourced and sustainably farmed ingredients, The Rez is set to cook a varied, thoughtful lineup of elevated comfort food. Menu items at this all-American grill include lobster rolls, grilled king crab legs, chicken liver pâté, burgers and house-made cavatelli Bolognese. The open kitchen — part of the modern, rustic interior collaboratively helmed by designer Lawrence Lee Associates and architect Klai Juba Wald at 5,000 square feet — will also feature a Jade wood-burning grill with Florida cherrywood.
"My cooking style is straightforward and approachable," Anderson said in a statement. "Classic technique, done right by using seasonal, high-quality ingredients."
At the bar, there's craft beer from four breweries planned on tap — three of which are Tampa locals — alongside specialty cocktails that incoporate syrups and juices made in-house.
"This restaurant will set the culinary tone for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and we're so excited that Frank Anderson will be at the helm," according to Dawn Lazo, vice president of food and beverage. "Frank cooks from the heart, has worked alongside some of the best in the industry and his food is delicious, yet unpretentious. His addition to the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa team further cements Tampa Bay as a true foodie destination."
Editor's note: This story has been updated since it's original publication to include the location of the restaurant, and how Seminole Hard Rock Tampa's partnership with Anderson came about.