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High-end steakhouse to open at SugarHouse

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House, a brand of the Chicago-based Gibsons Restaurant Group, will open a branch inside the Fishtown casino later this year, part of a $164 million expansion.

Expect a slew of frog imagery and puns in the next few months in connection with the first steakhouse to open in Philadelphia in a few years.

Hugo's Frog Bar & Chop House, a brand of the Chicago-based Gibsons Restaurant Group, will open a branch inside SugarHouse Casino on Delaware Avenue in Fishtown later this year, part of a $164 million expansion, it was announced Wednesday.

Hugo's, a 300-seater mixing casual and upscale dining for lunch and dinner, will be set up in the northwest corner on the first floor of SugarHouse's expansion.

It's featuring a "Philly cut" steak - a 12-ounce rib eye cap, topped with smoked provolone, crispy shallots and fried herbs. Hugo's Prime Angus beef is aged 50 days and cooked in an 1,800-degree infrared broiler. The restaurant also will serve seafood.

Though a Philadelphia menu was not provided, the Hugo's at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Ill., starts its steak prices at $41.75 for a 10-ounce filet and heads north from there; lunch entrees are in the high teens and low $20s.

And yes, Hugo's does serve frogs' legs as an appetizer.

Gibsons will be the exclusive caterer for SugarHouse's new, second-floor multipurpose event space, which at 30,000 square feet will have floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of the riverfront and the Ben Franklin Bridge.

After a period of rapid growth, Philadelphia's steakhouse scene has been fairly flat, reflecting a general slowdown within the fine-dining sector. Of recent note, Smith & Wollensky pulled out of its long-running space at the Rittenhouse Hotel. Ruth's Chris recently closed in the Atlantic Building at Broad and Spruce Streets, as it is planning to relocate to the Sonesta Hotel at 18th and Market Streets next spring.

Hugo's, which opened in July 2011 in the Des Plaines casino, was awarded a respectable score of 26 out of 30 points for food by Zagat Surveyers.

The restaurant's name comes from its original owner, Hugo Ralli, whose grandfather was nicknamed Frog.

Just watch your parking. Though it's free, if you block a fire lane, you might get toad.