The Atlantic Club is taking its new philosophy that it is a casino for locals very seriously, particularly when it comes to its restaurants.
Starting this weekend, all of the casino's restaurants will not only stay open - destroying rumors that some of them would close - but they will be rebranded to feature new, exciting menus that will basically cut prices in half, making the casino the place to go to for value dining.
"When we really started looking at the whole locals concept, one thing we decided is that value will never go out of style," says COO Michael Frawley. "People want to go out and have a great time and don't want to break the bank doing it. And we are going to be loyal to our philosophy from free parking all day, every day, to our new slot product to our restaurants. We are in this for the long run. And that includes the restaurants. The days of $65 steaks are over for us."
The Atlantic Club, formerly the Atlantic City Hilton, will offer locals and casino diners an inexpensive alternative to high-priced casino - and local - restaurants. Considering all of the restaurants at the Atlantic Club were totally renovated just a few years ago, diners will basically be able to sit in multi-million-dollar restaurants and feast on entrees for under 20 bucks.
"What we are serving is over the top, but the price isn't over the top," Frawley adds. "When you sit in any of these restaurants, you expect to pay a check three times the price."
Here are the changes that go into effect Friday, March 16:
• Patsy's becomes Patsy's Trattoria, which means you can have great Patsy's food without the high prices. Chef Frank Mulino added focaccia and pizzas to the menu for around $12; appetizers such as clams casino, risotto pie, arancini and eggplant rollantini range from $6.50 to $8.75; pastas including lasagna, gnocchi with pesto cream sauce and spaghetti with meatballs don't exceed $15; seafood dishes such as stuffed flounder, seafood Cioppino with shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels over linguini are all $25 or less; and meats and chicken such as chicken Saltimbocca, veal parmigiana, steal pizzaiola and pork tenderloin with sauteed spinach in a red pepper sauce are all less than $20. There's even family-style meals that start as low as $14 and go up to $36 that feed four people.
• Simon Prime from celebrity chef Kerry Simon becomes Simon AC, a steak and seafood house with awesome prices overseen by Chef Lee Finkel. Appetizers include crab cake ($9), BBQ pork ribs ($9.50) and seafood tacos ($10) with crab, shrimp, avocado and all the trimmings. On the meat side, you can get three steaks for less than $20, including a 6-ounce filet and 10-ounce New York strip, plus comfort food such as meatloaf ($16), double-cut pork chop ($17) stuffed with raisins, apples and rosemary topped with red-eye gravy and the return of The Oaks' legendary chicken cordon bleu ($18). Seafood lovers can choose from eight entrees that include filet of North Atlantic salmon ($16) to surf and turf ($36). And creative sides such as the bacon cheddar potato cake are all priced at 5 bucks.
• Nick's Burger Bar becomes BB's. Out are gourmet burgers made from lamb and buffalo. In are five-ounce Angus steak or turkey burgers on sesame seed buns for $5 to $7, including the Hawaiian burger with pineapple and teriyaki sauce and the South Philly with caramelized onions, provolone cheese and hot cherry peppers. Check out the "It's a Party Burger" for $28, a 2-pounder that feeds about six people. There's also buffalo wings or tails ($6.50), salads ($6 to $7), $5 sandwiches including pulled BBQ pork and grilled chicken, and sides for $4 or less, including beer-battered onion rings. Don't leave without trying the assorted homemade cupcakes for just 3 bucks, including a Grand Marnier style. And they still have a slew of great beers, including a nice selection of crafts.
• Ono Pan-Asian Bistro & Bar is now Ono Chinese Bistro & Bar, focusing more on Chinese cuisine from Chef Brian Tsui with the same amazing views of the Boardwalk and ocean while still offering sushi, which ranges from $6 to $9. Appetizers include chicken or shrimp egg rolls ($4.50), sticky Thai wings ($7) and salt and pepper calamari ($6.50) or shrimp ($7.50). About a dozen seafood dishes range from mahi mahi ($14.50) in garlic and black bean sauce to Kung Pao Shrimp ($15) to lobster Cantonese ($42). Chicken, duck and pork dishes range in price from $13 to $18.50 and include Peking-style duck breast with Hoisin sauce and steamed buns, Mongolian pulled pork, General and sweet and sour chicken and wok-fried chicken and veggies. There's also a wide array of noodle and rice dishes all for $13.50 or less.
• The Coffee Shop remains the same in name, but has been dramatically "deli-ized," says Vice President of Food and Beverage Scott Clark, who oversaw all the menu changes along with Executive Chef Uli Lohs. It will still offer all of the breakfast, lunch and dinner staples expected there, but Chef Wayne Dibert also added potato, pastrami and corned beef knish ($2.95 to $3.95), smoked fish platters and super-sized deli sandwiches such as the BurDeli special ($16.95), a quarter-pound burger with Swiss cheese on a brioche roll combined with a pastrami or corned beef sandwich on rye with cole slaw and Thousand Island dressing with fries. This is meant for sharing. So is the $14.95 chicken in the pot, an oversized pot full of homemade chicken stock, diced chicken, carrots, celery, kasha, kreplach and matzo balls. The huge menu has something for everyone.
It gets better. There will be eight - yes, eight - different happy hours throughout the property every day of the week. From 5 to 7 p.m., the bars at BB's, Ono, Patsy's and Simon, as well as the Dizzy Dolphin lounge, will offer $5 Absolut martinis, $5 wines by the glass, $2 domestic bottles and drafts, $3 imported bottles and drafts and $2 featured shooters. And the same specials can be found from 10 p.m. to midnight at BB's and the Dolphin. Plus, when the beach bar opens, another 5 to 7 p.m. happy hour will be added with half-price shake and takes and frozen drinks, $3 bottled beer and $2 featured shots.
On top of that, all of the happy hours - except BB's and the Dolphin - will offer special half-price appetizers, meaning that you can find yourself eating $4 sushi at Ono, $4 calamari at Patsy's and $5 seafood tacos at Simon's bar.
"We just need to do whatever it takes to get people in and then exceed their expectations," Frawley says. "We want to set a new perception of value for the market. It also makes comps easier for the average player. You don't have to play forever to get a steak dinner. It's a gaming-centric property here and we are going back to the basics. And when we say locals, you can be a local from Washington, D.C., or a local from Los Angeles. When you travel, you can pay a lot of money for a steak dinner, but most people ask, 'Where do the locals eat?' because there is value and great food. So we want the Atlantic Club to be that place. 'Local' is more about philosophy than geography."