Fire Rock Navajo Casino Turns Seven, Unveils Enhanced Cheii’s Restaurant and Showcases Regionally Renowned Chef Freddie Bitsoie

(Church Rock, N.M. – November 13, 2015) – The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (Navajo Gaming), led by Derrick Watchman, CEO, is proud to celebrate the seven-year anniversary of its first casino, Fire Rock Navajo Casino in the Church Rock Chapter, near Gallup, New Mexico on November 19, 2015. As part of the anniversary celebration, Fire Rock will unveil its newly enhanced Cheii’s Restaurant and recently hired, regionally renowned Chef Freddie Bitsoie.
“This marks the start of a new chapter for Fire Rock Navajo Casino and all of Navajo Gaming as we enhance our properties and amenities and become even stronger economic engines for the region,” stated Derrick Watchman, CEO of Navajo Gaming. “The remodeled Cheii’s Restaurant and award-winning Chef Freddie Bitsoie will provide locals and tourists additional reasons to visit Fire Rock Casino.”
Seven-Year Celebration
Fire Rock Navajo Casino opened on November 19, 2008 and quickly became a popular destination for locals and travelers along Interstate 40 between Gallup and Albuquerque. Loyal guests enjoy dining at the new Cheii’s Restaurant, playing live roulette, bingo, 917 slot machines, nine table games, virtual horse racing, eating at the food court, watching the game on big screen TVs and listening to live bands. Fire Rock Casino is celebrating all month with food and gaming specials and live music for community members that have supported it the past seven years.
In addition, Fire Rock will host an anniversary celebration and ribbon cutting for Cheii’s Restaurant on Thursday, November 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Throughout the past seven years, hundreds of Navajos have been employed through Fire Rock, as well as receiving leadership, hospitality, gaming and management job training as they advance. Fire Rock Casino has also become a valuable training ground for Navajo Gaming’s additional three properties that have successfully opened the past seven years.
“We are grateful for support from the Church Rock Chapter, Gallup community, The Navajo Nation President and his administration, Speaker LoRenzo Bates, Navajo Nation Council and its committees, Navajo Gaming Board and dedicated Fire Rock employees that have worked extremely hard the past seven year,” Watchman added. “These and other improvements allow us to stay ahead of regional competition and provide long-term revenue and jobs for the Navajo people.”
Enhanced Cheii’s Restaurant and Other Improvements
Cheii’s Restaurant has undergone a major renovation to update the entire kitchen, increase seating for guests and enhance and update the décor to create an atmosphere that would better showcase its expanded menu and new executive chef. In addition to traditional Navajo favorites, the new menu features New Mexican-style cuisine with side dishes and spices specific to the area.
Fire Rock has also improved seating for the slot and table games areas on the casino floor. The new seating will increase player comfort and improve the overall aesthetic of the casino. Additionally, the East Parking Lot has been enhanced with new lighting, paving and striping, a Blue Light Safety Communications system, new guard rails and designated walkways for improved guest safety. Fire Rock’s HVAC Systems have also been improved.
Regionally Renowned Chef Freddie Bitsoie
Fire Rock Casino has recently hired regionally renowned Chef Freddie Bitsoie, as its new Executive Chef. Bitsoie has traveled the country, making presentations for organizations and companies such as Kraft Foods, Yale University and the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz., showcasing new ways to cook and experience Native American food and regionally specific ingredients. He has been featured in and contributes to Indian Country Today, Native Peoples Magazine and Arizona Highways. Bitsoie won the Native Chef Competition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian for 2013 and has been a guest on Chef Lidia Bastianich’s show, Lidia Celebrates America. Chef Bitsoie has collaborated with Navajo Gaming and Fire Rock’s Food and Beverage team to create a brand new menu for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Cheii’s Restaurant Ribbon Cutting and Fire Rock’s Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, November 19
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Fire Rock Navajo Casino
249 Rte. 66
Church Rock, NM 87311
To learn more about Fire Rock Casino visit
About Navajo Gaming:
Navajo Gaming (The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise) is a Navajo Nation wholly-owned business entity created by the Navajo Nation in September 2006. NNGE is authorized by the Navajo Nation to develop and operate Navajo casinos in accordance with federal and Navajo Nation laws, as well as the negotiated Navajo Nation-applicable state compacts (New Mexico and Arizona).
Navajo Gaming opened its first Navajo Casino on November 19, 2008 – Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Church Rock Chapter, near Gallup, New Mexico. The second Navajo Casino opened October 13, 2010 – Flowing Water Navajo Casino in Tsé Daak’áán Chapter, near Shiprock, New Mexico. The third Navajo Casino opened January 16, 2012 – Northern Edge Navajo Casino – in Upper Fruitland Chapter, near Farmington, New Mexico. The fourth Navajo Casino – Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort – is located in Leupp Chapter, near Flagstaff, Arizona. Currently, Navajo Gaming has 1,200 employees.
Navajo Gaming’s vision includes job growth opportunities for Navajos, to continue returning revenue to the Navajo Nation and continue building the Navajo gaming and hospitality brand.