Sammy Hagar

Rock Legend Sammy Hagar’s newest restaurant concept coming to Southland Park Gaming & Racing

Delaware North-owned-and-operated Southland Park Gaming & Racing is set to add to its hospitality and entertainment lineup with the newest restaurant concept by Sammy Hagar, the rock legend – known as “The Red Rocker” – who has also built an impressive empire of successful restaurants, bars and spirits.

Sammy Hagar’s Red Rocker Bar & Grill, a 150-seat restaurant and sports bar, will open as part of Southland Park’s $37.4 million expansion and exterior redesign project, scheduled to be completed by year’s end. Construction at the West Memphis, Ark., location began in January on the new 41,000-square-foot building that will house Sammy Hagar’s Red Rocker Bar & Grill, as well as a redesign and enhancement of the venue’s exterior, main drive and south entrance.

Hagar has been one of rock music’s most dynamic and prolific artists over a 40-year career that has included stints as the lead singer and frontman of the acclaimed band Van Halen and early 1970s seminal hard rock band Montrose. He’s earned the highest respect of the music industry with a Grammy Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Van Halen and is currently on his fourth platinum run with the super group Chickenfoot. Along his journey, Hagar has also become a dedicated philanthropist, a New York Times best-selling author for his 2011 autobiography “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,” and auspicious entrepreneur.

Hagar, whose grandfather was an Italian chef, began his successful foray into restaurants and spirits in 1990 when he opened the Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He has expanded the Cantina brand to include locations in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe and successfully launched five Sammy’s Beach Bar and Grill restaurants, from which he gives his personal proceeds to local charities. In 2011, he partnered with celebrity chef Tyler Florence to open el Paseo in Mill Valley, Calif., and in 2012 opened the first Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar & Grill in Roseville, Calif.

In 1996 Hagar was seeking a tequila worthy of the Cabo Wabo name and began serving his Cantina patrons a house brand that he commissioned from a local multigenerational family of tequila makers in Mexico. By 2006 he had built Cabo Wabo into the second best selling premium tequila in the United States.

In recent years Hagar has turned his attention to rum. The part-time Maui resident again found a local source, partnering with one of the island’s master distillers, Mark Nigbur, to produce Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, a silver rum distilled in small batches. In 2012, its first year on the market, the spirit garnered praise and several awards, including Best of Show at the highly competitive “2012 Nightclub and Bar Show” in Las Vegas.

“Sammy Hagar has turned a lifelong passion for great food, music and spirits into a thriving and iconic lifestyle brand that has grown to encompass successful restaurants, bars and spirits,” said Troy Keeping, Southland Park’s president and regional general manager. “We are extremely excited and proud to be partnering with Sammy Hagar to bring the first Sammy Hagar’s Red Rocker Bar & Grill to our patrons at Southland Park Gaming & Racing and everyone in the greater Memphis area.”