Sitting at the bar in Dan Rooney’s, in the heart of Empire City Casino, you feel energized. The colorful blinking lights and electronic “cha-ching” sounds give the place a palpable buzz. And when a plate with a stack of candied smoked bacon is placed alongside your pint glass, you might not want to leave.
Chef Matt Heisel, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, is a bit of a food geek. He prepares everything on the gastropub menu from scratch, from sausage to salad dressing. Even the corned beef is cured in-house.
“It’s how I was brought up cooking,” says Heisel. “It’s important to know how to do everything yourself.”
As you can imagine for a pub inside of a casino, the restaurant is perpetually bustling, with nearly every table filled on a weekday early afternoon. An open double-sided bar divides the bar and the casino, and with 35 flat-screens hung throughout the restaurant side, this is definitely a destination for sports fans. (Especially come football season, as the Rooneys are majority owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers.)
If you go…
Dan Rooney’s Cafe and Bar, 810 Yonkers Ave., Yonkers. 914-457-2531, www.danrooneyscafeandbar.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily. The kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; the bar from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.