Jamul Casino update: New name, offerings

For the Jamul Indian Village, the rebranding of Jamul Casino from Hollywood Casino connects the tribe’s past to its future.


What’s in a name?

For the Jamul Indian Village, the rebranding of Hollywood Casino to Jamul Casino connects the tribe’s past to its future.

With a fresh logo and newly named dining venues and players rewards club, the casino’s transition from owner to owner/manager has been seamless, said chairwoman Erica Pinto.

“I think it’s the dream of all the tribes across the United States to be the owner and operator of their own economic development corporation,” Pinto said. “So it is a dream come true, and we’re proud to still offer high-class entertainment, food and beverages. Most important, the excellent customer service we have stayed the same, (and) we continue to build on it.”

Jamul Casino, which celebrated its official relaunch on Aug. 4, will also add “new and exciting” dining concepts in the coming months, Pinto said.

In the meantime, here’s what’s new at Jamul Casino:

Prime Cut

Replacing its former cinematic theme, the steakhouse has been renamed Prime Cut to emphasize the restaurant’s quality steaks, according to Raman Natarajan, the vice president of food and beverage.

“We have a wonderful prime program here, USDA Prime, with a special emphasis on local produce and great seafood. The staff here is excellent … (and) we have a great culinary team that supports this,” Natarajan said, adding that Prime Cut had recently won a 2018 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

“It’s the same great restaurant, with a different feel. Every time you come in, you’re going to find something a little bit different here and there that’ll keep it exciting and cutting edge,” he said.

The steakhouse, which now features a three-course, $35 fixed price dinner on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sunday, has launched a lobster brunch — its first — for $50. Onyx and Pearl rewards club members can eat free with a guest, while Amber-level players get a 50 percent discount.

All of Jamul Casino’s other dining venues retained their names, except for the rebranded cafe, The Coffee Shop.

Jamul Trading Co.

The casino gift shop has a new sign — and swag. Gone are the few Hollywood-branded items once sold at Rodeo Drive. Now there is more shelf space dedicated to everything from T-shirts to lighters and coffee mugs sporting the Jamul Casino logo.

That logo, a water droplet anchored by an artful “J,” has special significance for the tribe, said Pinto, the tribal chairwoman.

“In our language, ‘Ja’ means water and ‘mul’ means sweet, so we have a new logo that signifies a drop of water, or a raindrop, and we’re very proud of that,” she said.

Sweetwater Rewards

It was Pinto’s cousin and vice chairman, Michael Hunter, who came up with the idea to rename the former Marquee Rewards players club to Sweetwater Rewards.

“We want to bring in an environment of what’s local here … and that’s how we want to incorporate it in the casino,” Hunter said, “to show that we like to give back to our local customers.”

Special experiences at the casino, such as a murder mystery dinner in Prime Cut’s private dining room, or place-specific giveaways, like a telescope for back-country star-gazing, are among some new perks.

“Cookware always proves to be among the most popular freebies, he said. “People love to come in for that, especially anything that has to do with barbecuing.”