If we go by the calendar, the first day of summer is June 21. Of course the prime “Shore” season is typically from July 4 to Labor Day. However, with several new and exciting projects coming on board this month, there is no reason to wait until the official start of summer.
Starting out in the Marina District, The Golden Nugget is ready to join the booming party scene with the Memorial Day weekend debut of 12,000-square-foot Haven Night Club. A gaming element also will be part of the mix via The Veranda, a covered outdoor space that will offer slots, blackjack and roulette. The setting will include two large fire pits and lounge seating.
The Revel club scene, along with the Angel Management Group, are preparing to unveil their newest joint venture with the opening of the HQ Beach Club. Scheduled to open 10 a.m. May 23,this ultra-luxe boardwalk level pool lounge will introduce the day club concept that has been very successful on the Las Vegas Strip.
Several blocks south, Resorts will be unveiling its major Magararitaville makeover, which will include the open year-round Landshark Bar & Grill along with the Magaritaville Restaurant and themed casino floor. Opening day is slated for May 24.
For the foodies out there, Revel is gearing up for its second annual taste of Revel event, which is taking place May 10-12. A complete list of events can be found at http://www.revelresorts.com/events/taste-revel.
There is no doubt in my mind that the only way Trump Plaza is going to survive in this tough market is a change in ownership capable of investing some serious cash to remodel and upgrade the property. Trump Plaza is the centerpiece of the Atlantic City Boardwalk, yet seems to be the most outdated.
Well, the California-based Meruelo Group, which owns another casino property in Reno, had negotiated a bargain basement purchase price of $20 million. The plans, according to published reports, include investing $100 million in upgrades. If the sale goes through at the current price, it would be the lowest price ever paid for an AC gaming hall.
However, the popular phrase “location, location, location,” seems to have everything in a holding pattern. According to a story in The Press of Atlantic City, Billionaire and Tropicana owner Carl Icahn, who also holds the mortgage for both the Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal, the $20 million price is not enough.
I still believe the sale will still go through, but at a higher price, maybe in the $35- to $40-million range (I am basing it on the most recent $38 million sale price for Trump Marina). With the prime summer season fast approaching, this is the time to complete the deal.
Back from a long hiatus and so much to talk about.
First, the bad, but not the unexpected: Revel is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Since its spring opening, the stunning beachfront resort has been able to figure out ways to produce winning results on the casino floor. There is no doubt in my mind that the high-end amenities and no smoking policy (much appreciated by the way) has scared many customers away. Failing to roll out the high-roller carpet for the whales also backfired, as Revel has since introduced a multi-tiered player card system. Revel needs to quickly reshuffle deck and put their winning hand on the table in time for the prime summer season.
Yeah! That eyesore of a property known as Trump Plaza is finally going to get the $100-million makeover it deserves as the Claifornia-based Meruelo Group is purchashing the property for the bargain-basement price of $20. This is the same Atlantic City centerpiece that cost $210 million to build in the mid-1980s. Rumors are swirling that designers are drawing up the plans that will incorporate an Asian theme.
Tropicana is once again making a splash on the Downbeach side of town with the recent of several new restaurant concepts to be unveiled this spring. Broadway Burger is taking over the former Red Square spot in The Quarter while the Marketplace section of the property will be welcoming the additions of a Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar, Perry Pizza, Tony Luke’s and Casa Taco and Tequila Bar. On a South Philly note, native Dom Irrera is appearing at the Tropicana Showroom March 2.
Also, mark March 3 to 9 on your calendars for Atlantic City Restaurant Week. Lunches are $15.11 while Dinner are $33.11. It’s a great opportunity to try out restaurants.
Finally, the new is slowly, but surely coming in about the 2013 Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival scheduled for July for July 25 to 28. Robert Irvine and the The Neelys have been booked with more announcements to come. Visit caesars.com/acfoodandwine for specific event details and ticket prices.
As the post Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, Atlantic City is moving forward with returning to normalcy as all 12 casinos resumed operations Friday morning. The Golden Nugget sent out a press release stating that the hotel,casino and buffet were all operational as of 11:30 a.m. with other outlets scheduled to open at 3 p.m.
“It was important to us to open as quickly as possible so our employees can get back to work, our customers can have a place to take their mind off the storm and as a community we can start to recover and get back to normal”, Tom Pohlman, Golden Nugget executive vice president and general manager said in a press release.
The casino also will be coordinating efforts to provide food and clothing to those who were hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Showboat posted “We are pleased to announce that we are open at 2pm today. Our restaurants and lounges are busy preparing to open and our employees are anxious to get back to work taking care of valued guests. Thank you to all of you for your well wishes and support through this difficult week.”
Please call or check the website of your preferred Atlantic City destination for updates, including the rescheduling of events as a result of the storm.
As of 2:40 p.m. Friday, the Walk was still closed as a result of Hurricane Sandy with its reopening status still to be determined.
The Pier Shops at Caesars will reopen Saturday.
Hurricane Sandy, the storm formerly known as Hurricane Sandy, Tropical Storm Sandy … The name really doesn’t matter as it delivered a devastating punch to the Jersey Shore. I spent the majority of Monday afternoon watching the local news and couldn’t believe the images. I saw pieces of the Atlantic City Boardwalk go flying on to city streets.Several inches of water covered the roadways, garage doors were blown off of houses, and in Ocean City, the wind gusts were so strong that a Dunkin’ Donuts was split into two pieces. Gov. Chris Christie described the damage to the Jersey Shore as “unthinkable.” Other towns saw parts of amusement parks tossed into the ocean, houses torn off of their foundations and train tracks severely damaged. As of Tuesday, published reports had some 200,000 Atlantic City Electric customers without power.
Suddenly, the question of when will the Atlantic City casino reopen doesn’t seem so important. Yes, they will eventually reopen, but the casino operators are waiting for the federal, state and city officials to complete their necessary evaluations. The Caesars Entertainment-owned resorts (Caesars, Bally’s Showboat and Harrah’s) have the following message posted on their websites:
“Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, Harrah’s Resort, Caesars Atlantic City, Bally’s Atlantic City and Showboat Atlantic City will remain closed today, Tuesday, October 30th and tomorrow, Wednesday, October 31st. Our focus is to ensure the safety of our guests and our employees and all casinos, hotels and other amenities will remain closed until it is safe to reopen. We will provide updates on the reopening of our properties as they become available. Your understanding at this time is greatly appreciated.”
The Tropicana also has its own Hurricane update page, which includes the rescheduling of Restaurant Week, at
For those looking to make a trip to AC, I would advice checking the specific casino websites for updates.
Regular updates also can be found at
Basketball is making its Boardwalk Hall return Oct. 13, but this time it will be the NBA and not the NCAA. That’s right, the Philadelphia 76ers are making a one-night-only appearance on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk against the Brooklyn, formerly New Jersey, Nets. The event is being billed as the Sixers’ Boardwalk Classic and sponsored by Caesars Atlantic City, Global Spectrum and DO AC. Tickets for the 7 p.m. tip are $10 to $49.
This will mark the third meeting between the two organizations in AC. In 1982, the Sixers beat the Nets 93-91. The following year, Moses Malone had 19 points and Dr. J added 18 points to lead the Sixers to a 117-113 overtime win.
Visit nba.com/sixers for complete details.
Tickets may be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
Another Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival is wrapping up today. My wife and I once again enjoyed two very busy days of tasting, sipping and mingling (we picked two of the four days). The one thing I was really impressed with was how the event planners managed to improve the crowd control. A couple of the events were moved from the courtyard at Bally’s to the much more spacious Showboat outdoor parking lot. This move was genius as it allowed the event organizers to set up multiple tents instead of squeezing all of the vendors and people into one.
I also had a chance to chat with the Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, and the one thing that caught my attention was how passionate they were about what they do. In the reality-TV world there is no pre-written script to act out. The element of failure can happen at a moment’s notice. Rumor has it that “The Cake Boss” does fail once in the upcoming season, but you’ll have to watch to find out which episode.I also attended the Sweet & Stylish event (a combo dessert and fashion show event) and was overwhelmed by the selection of desserts. A couple of the vendors run out of product in less than an hour. I overheard one individual say she ran out of 600 pieces of chocolate in 30 minutes.
I must say this this year’s collection of personalities was the best to date. Kudos to the event organizers for putting together a fabulous weekend.
As I sit here Sunday morning, I am throwing in the foodie towel.