Hard Rock Cafe planned for Yankee Stadium

Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Yankees vice-chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, and Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez at the ceremony announcing Hard Rock Café’s presence in the new Yankee Stadium on June 18. - Photo courtesy of the New York Yankees

As the new Yankee stadium rises next to the house that Ruth built and Reggie maintained, it seems like the straw that stirs the drink at the new facility will be found at the Hard Rock Café.

In what the Yankees hope will be a perfect intersection between Major League Baseball and the world of rock and roll, the franchise announced on Wednesday, June 18, that they have agreed to enter into a long-term agreement to open a 7,000 square-foot Hard Rock Café in Yankee Stadium.

Located at the corner of E. 161st Street and River Avenue, and featuring seating for 210 guests, the Hard Rock Café will be open year-round, for those with or without a ticket to a Yankees game.

The restaurant, which will donate 26 guitars to Bronx-based programs, Highbridge Voices and Renaissance E.M.S., will house memorabilia from top artists, with an emphasis on New York-area talent and additional Yankees-related pieces.

Located near the Great Hall entrance in right field, it will be adjacent to the newly branded NYY Steak, a prime steakhouse that will also be operated throughout the year.

Based on the successful Council Oak Steak & Seafood Restaurants at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, FL, the new restaurant will occupy 6,300 square feet of space with seating for 128 guests.

NYY Steak, operated by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, will be open throughout the year and have extended hours on game days.  The field will not be visible from either facility, but will be a welcome addition to a blossoming community.

“We are thrilled to partner with the New York Yankees and to be part of the new Yankee Stadium,” said Jim Allen, president and CEO of Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment. “The Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium will bring two iconic brands, as well as sports and music, to this world-class venue.”

With construction workers milling about and wearing hard hats, the Yankees made the announcement on Wednesday, June 18, in the first official press conference held at the new stadium.

“Adding popular and premier dining options such as the Hard Rock Café and NYY Steak was done with our fans in mind,” said Yankee COO Lonn Trost. “The new Yankee Stadium will be a destination that fans of every age and from around the world can look forward to visiting throughout the calendar year.”

The conference allowed many in attendance to get an updated look at the new facility, as it nears its opening date in time for the 2009 baseball season. 

Concrete installation on the stadium is complete, as trains rumbled past what will be the center field scoreboard.

Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., who noted the varied music, including doo wop, hip hop and salsa, said that marquee restaurants like the Hard Rock Café would attract visitors to the area and provide new dining choices for the community.

“The area has come a long way in three decades,” Carrion said. “Burgers, steaks and the Yankees-that’s a Bronx grand slam.”

Carrion recalled the famous comments made by sportscaster Howard Cosell during the 1977 World Series, when helicopter footage showed a building fire, prompting Cosell to exclaim, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning.”

“That image carried all over the world and into people’s minds,” Carrion noted. “I’m sure that he and all of the people who listened to those words could not have imagined a day such as this, where the Bronx is not burning. Instead, the Bronx is hot with opportunity.”

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