Diamond Jo Casino opens Thursday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

NORTHWOOD &8212; The Diamond Jo Casino four miles south of the Iowa-Minnesota border on Interstate 35 opens to the public Thursday. The opening is billed as Sneak Preview Days, with a grand opening to come April 19.

It will be a full-service casino with regular business hours. Normal operating hours for the casino will be Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. It will be open on weekends between 8 a.m. on Friday to 3 a.m. on Monday.

The Farmer&8217;s Feast Caf/ will serve lunch and dinner, and the Big Wheel Bar nightly will host live entertainment from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The casino opened its doors to a select crowd at 8 a.m. Tuesday and this morning as part of its Friends and Family Days promotional event.

Over 90 percent of the current 350 employees at the casino had no experience working in a casino, and the promotional event will help them settle into their jobs before the real crowds hit, said Carrie Tedore of the casino&8217;s public relations office.

Diamond Jo hopes to hire 50 more people as kitchen staff, dealers, Starbucks personnel, and food and cocktail servers. Their payroll is projected to be over $6 million this year.

The casino encompasses 60,000 square feet, with 30,000 dedicated to gaming. The exterior resembles a grist mill, reflecting Iowa&8217;s agricultural heritage.