Just a short time ago in 2000, Jerry Smith and a small staff had big dreams for Laguna Development Corporation. In less than 8 years, Laguna Development Corporation (LDC) has grown to a multi-million dollar enterprise, employing over 1,200 local residents and sustaining the Pueblo of Laguna. Dreaming big has been the overriding theme for LDC, and riding on the shirttails of one of the most successful grand opening periods for a casino enterprise, the senior staff is not wasting any time getting started on the next “Big” venture for LDC.

From 2000-2001 LDC unveiled not one, not two, but three major projects including the opening of the Dancing Eagle Casino and Dancing Eagle Travel Center and the re-opening of the new and improved Laguna Superette. In addition to introducing three new projects, LDC broke ground on the Travel Center at Exit 140, what would become the cornerstone of the largest enterprise for LDC, the Route 66 Casino Hotel. In 2003 the Route 66 Travel Center was completed, and later that year the Route 66 Casino was opening its doors.

Less than a year ago, Route 66 Casino expanded its operations with the addition of a 154-room hotel, child entertainment facility, 24-hour restaurant, nightclub, expanded casino floor and 8,000 square feet of new meeting space. Before the dust has even settled, planning began on the next big project.

This fall, Route 66 Casino Hotel will continue the tradition when they open the doors to a brand new buffet. Gone are the days of the traditional buffet. The new buffet at Route 66 Casino Hotel will be the top dining experience in the State of New Mexico. The buffet will feature five live-action cooking stations, where food is cooked right before your eyes. With menu items from across the world, the new buffet will be an entirely new kind of experience.

Guests can choose from one of the five international food stations: the Mediterranean Station, featuring Italian & Greek fare, the Asian Bistro, with fresh Asian specialties; the International Grill, with BBQ from Korea to Brazil; American Grill showcasing America’s favorite comfort foods and the Dessert Station with freshly made pastries prepared by our very own international pastry chef’s.

As if the international fresh food offerings aren’t enough, you are sure to be impressed by the atmosphere and design. Special features include bright blue skies created through the use of special lighting pointed at unique hanging metal pieces that make their way through a canyon speckled with aspen trees and copper pillars, simulating rock formations. Each of the food stations is uniquely designed to be reminiscent of store fronts from across the world. The new buffet will replace the Hungry Cowboy, and will feature increased menu offerings at the same great value.

LDC broke ground on the 500 seat buffet in May, just five months after the grand opening of the 147,000 expansion of the Route 66 Casino Hotel. You can bet that LDC senior staff has another “Big” venture on the horizon, adding to a history marked with successful openings, creating prosperity and opportunity for the people of Laguna.