FARMINGTON — The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is opening a new steakhouse in Ignacio, Colo., providing a fine dining option in the small reservation town.

Seven Rivers, located in Sky Ute Casino Resort, opens today. It offers something new to Ignacio, a town of only 697 residents, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Ignacio has several other restaurants, but none approach the price point and high-end atmosphere of Seven Rivers.

"It is a really nice restaurant and provides an upscale dining that this town doesn't currently have," said Emily Meisner, past president of the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce and owner of The Patio Restaurant.

Steaks at Seven Rivers run from $28 for the New York strip to $45 for the "Chairman's Cut" T-bone. The menu also includes chicken, lamb, pork and seafood dishes. Seven Rivers also has a full liquor license.

John Maskovich, director of food and beverage for the casino, said Seven Rivers' prices compare favorably to Durango's high-end restaurants.

"Intentionally, I priced them 10 to 15 percent lower than the competition in the Durango area," he said. The steak prices include sides.

Maskovich said the steakhouse aims to draw visitors from Durango. The casino is about 23 miles east of Durango and 51 miles northeast of Farmington.

"The steakhouse itself was built to attract more of the visitors from Durango," he said. "There's a large foodie population in Durango, and we wanted to get into that market a little bit."

The restaurant is conceived as a traditional steakhouse, resisting the fusion trend popular in the restaurant world, Maskovich said.

The kitchen has an open layout where customers can watch Hamadou Dagnogo, the executive sous chef, at work. Dagnogo is originally from South Africa and trained in France and Italy.

The dining room seats 68. Seven Rivers also has a lounge.

"It's an expansive restaurant," Maskovich said. "It's pretty comfortable. You're not going to be sitting on top of people in there."

Seven Rivers is one of three new eateries at the casino. The others are Willows Baja Grille, a casual Mexican restaurant, and Willows Caf Bistro, a coffee shop.

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is the largest employer in La Plata County, with about 1,500 employees in 2012, according to the Durango Chamber of Commerce.

The restaurant, 14324 Colo. Highway 172, opens at 5 p.m. today, The lounge opens at 4 p.m.

Regular hours for the restaurant will be 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Chuck Slothower can be reached at; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter @DTChuck.