The $200-million Indiana Live! casino opened Friday night in Shelbyville. If the free-money giveaways around town, faux Obama commercials and the buzz around a promised ribbon-cutting appearance by Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake* convinced you to attend the grand-opening, share your thoughts here. The building itself is quite a dramatic sight from Interstate 74, especially after seeing miles of cornfields. The project was designed by Las Vegas-based Klai Juba Architects and Cleo Design, firms that worked on some of the most-recognized casinos on the Las Vegas Strip including Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand. The 233,000-square-foot casino was developed and will be managed by Baltimore, Md.-based The Cordish Company. Besides all the slot machines and electronic table games, the snazzy facility gives Shelbyville a dining attraction that rivals The Cow Palace.
A few observations from a preview event:
The highlight of the casino's food offerings is the Indiana Live! Market, a bazaar of fresh and packaged foods that resembles the perfect-world vision of downtown's City Market. You can choose from just about any type of food from sushi to steaks, stirfry to pizza, candies to gelato. Prices are well labeled and reasonable; a grilled-to-order 12-ounce sirloin is $9 and a whole chicken is $8.
The casino's casual sports bar is Nascar Sports Grille, a concept with one other location, at Universal Studios in Orlando. The 265-seat restaurant features a circular bar at its center with a race-driven Dale Earnhardt car hanging above.
The anchor restaurant is Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge, which also is part of a small chain. The concept has locations in Louisville and Kansas City, but the Indiana Live! restaurant is an upscale iteration. The 205-seat steakhouse features a wood-burning oven, high-back chairs and its own pastry shop.
*Timberlake and Biel didn't show. Was it all just a hoax to attract larger crowds? For more, check out Lou Harry's A&E