ONE&ONLY MAGAZINE



N9NE Guys Michael Morton
and Scott DeGraff



N9NE Steakhouse at
Morongo Casino Resort



Have a drink in the N9NE Steakhouse Lounge
 



Belly Italiano - The Best Italian Food in the Desert



Space Bar High Atop Morongo Casino - Drinks and a View!



Rain in the Desert. SoCal's Hottest New Nightclub. 



Lots of Sun Poolside at the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa 

N9NE Group Guys Michael Morton and Scott DeGraff Create a Desert Storm in SoCal

FOUR CUTTING-EDGE NIGHTSPOTS WILL HEAT UP THE DESERT
AT THE NEW MORONGO CASINO, RESORT & SPA
 

        The N9NE Group guys are definitely a One & Only, even though there are two of them. Las Vegas nightlife innovators Michael Morton and Scott DeGraff, founders and principals of The N9NE Group, unveiled their hip, sexy nightlife venues on the Southern California desert scene, with the opening of four blockbuster venues at the incredible new Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, just 20 minutes west of Palm Springs. With the debut of, N9NE Steakhouse, Desert Rain, Belly Italiano and SPACEBAR, Morton and DeGraff will instantly revolutionize the dining and nightlife scene, importing the trendsetting style that have made their venues the hottest spots in the country.       
         Childhood friends since the age of nine-the inspiration behind their company's name--­Morton (son of legendary Chicago restaurateur Arnie Morton, founder of the Morton's of Chicago steakhouse chain) and DeGraff partnered in 1992 to launch the nightclub Drink Chicago. They went on to open Drink Las Vegas in 1995 prior to opening Chicago's inaugural N9NE Steakhouse and ghostbar in 2000. With the 2001 opening of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, they debuted their highly successful dining and entertainment venues in Las Vegas, which include N9NE Steakhouse, Rain Las Vegas, ghostbar, and Skin Pool Lounge. Additional N9NE Group nightspots will be featured in the new Palms tower, opening in 2005.       
       “We have become victims of our own success when all these resorts started opening clubs. Rain in Las Vegas continues to set records three years later.  Coachella Valley and South California are in for a real treat,” Morton says.       
        “We build places where we would want to hang out,” DeGraff explains.  “To do what we have to do to make this thing work at the level that it does, you have to live it.  We have always, always had fun.  We’re just fortunate we found a way to make a living at it.”        
         The new $250 million Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, set to open this winter, is certain to become one of Southern California's most popular tourist attractions, while offering L.A. residents a nearby, new entertainment option. Sprawling over 44 lushly landscaped acres, the world-class complex will include a stunning 27-story luxury hotel with over 300 rooms, conference facilities, and a wide array of amenities. Developed by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the approximately 700,000 square foot, oasis-inspired project was designed by The Jerde Partnership, the world-renowned architectural firm whose previous hotel projects include Las Vegas' five-star Bellagio and the hip, successful Palms Casino Resort.       
        "N9NE Group founders Michael Morton and Scott DeGraff have designed venues that will provide our guests with an eclectic mix of dining and nightlife amenities," said casino general manager Bill Davis. "With an expansive state-of-the-art casino area, four-star guest accommodations and trendsetting venues, the new $250 million Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, will set the standard for destination resorts on the West Coast"       
        The Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa will be home to the third location of Morton and DeGraff’s contemporary American restaurant, N9NE Steakhouse (also in Chicago and Las Vegas); and a variation of the Palms' state-of-the-art nightclub and concert venue, Rain Las Vegas, here called Desert Rain. The new Morongo resort will also boast two original entertainment concepts: a dining venue called Belly Italiano, which will do for Italian restaurants what N9NE did for steakhouses; and the SPACEBAR, a sexy lounge are located on the top two floors of the property tower.       
         Michael Morton and Scott DeGraff are well known for their keen ability to satisfy a public hungry for distinctive entertainment amenities, says Palms Casino Resort President George Maloof, "Michael and Scott have demonstrated the kind of innovation and creativity that perfectly complement the scene at the Palms. They have changed the meaning of 'adult fun' with their hip nightspots."       
         Conveniently located a mere 90 minutes from Los Angeles, the N9NE Group's new ventures at the Morongo property are certain to forever change the image of the once-sleepy Inland Empire. The cutting-edge concepts and styles represented by these N9NE Group restaurants and clubs will be without rival in Southern California.       
        Morton and DeGraff are enthusiastic about the unlimited potential the new location lends to the resort, being as there are 18 million people within a 90-minute radius of the property. "Its proximity to L.A. combined with a Jerde design and an opportunity to do a multi-venue deal, similar to the Palms, was something we just couldn't pass up," according to Morton. And as DeGraff points out, "Vegas is a multi-day commitment for most Angelenos, but for Morongo, you can decide to go on a Friday night, spur of the moment, for an uninhibited weekend of fun in the desert."       
       N9NE Steakhouse combines the best of a classic Chicago steakhouse and a contemporary American restaurant in an eye-popping setting, both seductive and sophisticated. Headlining with Chicago-style steaks and chops in the Morton's of Chicago tradition, the menu also boasts contemporary American fare from Consulting Chef/Partner Michael Kornick and N9NE Executive Chef Michael Schrader, plus an extensive selection of seafood, including grand shellfish platters, caviar presentations, sashimi and tartares.       
         The original N9NE Steakhouse debuted in Chicago in 2000 to great popular and critical acclaim, instantly becoming the prime destination for Chicago glitterati and celebrities. Conde Nast Traveler called N9NE "one of the newest, hottest, and best places to eat in the entire world," while John Mariani of Wine Spectator dubbed it "the hottest of Chicago's new restaurants.”       
          The Las Vegas N9NE, at the Palms, occupies 12,500 scintillating square feet and has changed the way that city thinks about steakhouses. It, too, has received widespread critical acclaim and is a favorite celebrity hangout.       
         The Morongo edition of the trendy steakhouse will be nearly identical to its counterpart in Las Vegas. Immediately upon entering the new N9NE Steakhouse guests will be keenly aware this is not their father's steakhouse. At this steakhouse of the 21st century, patrons are greeted by a two-sided water wall and glass-ensconced wine room. Other luxury appointments include limestone walls, mirrored mosaics, ultra-suede booths, a sleek lounge and private dining rooms. A central champagne and caviar bar awaits beneath a silver-leaf domed ceiling with a 300-color computerized lighting system.

        Belly Italiano,
which will be located at the very top of the high-rise hotel, may well be the hippest, sexiest Italian restaurant in the country. Just as N9NE infused new energy into the classic steakhouse concept, Belly will give Italian dining a much-needed boost of energy, but without compromising its commitment to the highest quality cuisine. Belly, whose spectacular views from 20-foot floor-to-ceiling windows giving diners the illusion of floating in the sky, will be one of those rare rooftop restaurants offering much more than just a panorama.
        "With our great view comes a total environment: superb food, a strikingly unique design, and an incredible energy level," DeGraff proudly explains.
        Pastas will all be made in-house, a prominent open cooking area will dispense luxurious lobster pasta, a house specialty, and the menu will offer a wide selection of seafood crudo (the Italian version of sashimi or ceviche, often cured with sea salt or oils). The menu, created by Michael Komick, Consulting Chef and partner in the N9NE Group, will feature familiar dishes executed and presented in extraordinary ways. Similarly, the decor will combine the classic with the avant-garde, in elements such as massive hand crafted crystal chandeliers that emit an entire prism of changing colors, a ceiling sheathed in metal mosaics, and gilded frames-worthy of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence-housing plasma television screens displaying high-tech art. Even the ground floor lobby for Belly's private elevator will be a multi-sensory experience: a rotunda with color changing water sculptures that ensure guests that they're in for a truly memorable evening.
        Guests are whisked skyward in high-speed elevators to top floors of the sleek hotel towering above the Southern California desert, where SPACEBAR delivers a sexy, electric scene. A new N9NE Group concept, SPACEBAR will be an ultra-hip, approximately 8,000­-square foot lounge boasting an unparalleled 360-degree view. The lounge's highly stylized design encompasses sleek lines, multi-textured materials, 14-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, an ethereal color scheme of silver, grey, yellow and blue, and groupings of custom-designed contemporary furniture. This laid-back and Über cool lounge is a place to enjoy specialty cocktails or premium champagnes while top deejays spin favorite cuts. It's a place to spend an entire evening or just to get warmed up. Those who really want to get their groove on can always transition over to Desert Rain, Morongo's sizzling dance club just off the main casino floor.
        A sister club to the ultra-hot Rain at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Desert Rain is a 15,000 square foot, multi-level mega-scene that triples as nightclub, concert venue and special event facility. Rain offers the ultimate nightclub experience, with four bars and multiple VIP areas available in the form of skyboxes, cabanas and "rain booths".
        Lavish special effects include an electrifying play of water, fire and fog, as well as some "technology never before seen in any nightclub," according to DeGraff. Desert Rain will host high-profile headliner acts and some of the best deejays in the industry. For special events, the club opens on to the hotel's elaborate swimming pool.
        Conceptualized by Morton and DeGraff, the ultra-chic designs of all N9NE Group venues are executed in collaboration with James Geier's 555 Design Fabrication Management (whose exclusive clients include Gucci, Giorgio Armani and Burberry). Discreet hideaways and entrances will accommodate celebrity and VIP guests, and a new generation of high-tech lighting and sound will be a Morongo signature. Excited and confident about The N9NE Group's new projects at the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, Michael Morton suggests "there has never before been such a good excuse for a hip, young crowd to venture into the Inland Empire area…now there's an awesome new opportunity for a weekend, or even just a night, of first-class entertainment."