Like Italian restaurants and steakhouses, it seems like Atlantic City casinos must now offer a burger bar. And the latest addition — Broadway Burger Bar inside The Quarter at the Tropicana Casino and Resort — is the nicest yet.
Taking the concept to the next level, the New York-based Ark Restaurants, which also owns Gallagher’s Steakhouse and its related burger bar inside Resorts Casino Hotel, has replaced the stereotypical diner-like burger bar into restaurant-quality experience with a stunning design and ambitious menu that offers something for everyone.
Walk into Broadway Burger Bar, which is located in the former Red Square space, it’s hard not to be dazzled by the decor, which looks like a crossover of a European bistro and an American sports bar. With its gold palette, wood floors and columns, a spacious dining room and gorgeous bar that features plenty of flat-screen televisions for sporting events, Broadway Burger Bar’s decor would be the envy of most casino restaurant operators.
“It’s casual but classy,” says Donna McCarthy, director of operations for Ark Atlantic City. “When people walk in they are shocked … they are always surprised.”
But it’s the food that will have you coming back.
Diners have plenty to choose from when it comes to their namesake product, starting with the prime beef burger ($10) made with 8 ounces of freshly ground Angus beef served on a brioche bun and continuing with the grass-fed beef burger ($14) made with 8 ounces of 100 percent certified humane freshly ground beef. Then there’s the Angus sliders ($12), three 3-ounce burgers with caramelized onions and topped with cheddar cheese.
“I think it’s important to offer quality meat but I think it’s even more important that we grind it fresh,” McCarthey says. “We are fresh grinding beef every day. You can take a short cut and freeze it, but the freshness makes the difference.”
The most buzzed-about burger — if you dare solo or share with others — is the Hub Cap Burger ($24), which features 24 ounces of prime beef.
“It’s a fun burger,” says McCarthy, noting quite a few people have devoured it alone. “When we first opened, a construction worker came in with three other people and they all ordered regular burgers and he ordered the Hub Cap. He finished first and I mean every single thing on the plate: the lettuce, the tomato, every french fry. When he finished he said, ‘Where’s the 30-ouncer?’ It’s a novelty item. We want people to have fun here.”
Another part of the menu, labeled “The Alternative,” features other sandwich selections: a barley and lentil burger ($10) with spicy fruit salsa; the Italian Burger ($14) with ground beef mixed with onions and parsley topped with grilled prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and tomato bruschetta; and the Turkey BLT Burger ($14) with applewood-smoked bacon and avocado on a whole wheat bun; braised short rib ($15) with caramelized onions.
“We wanted a lot of variety because we want to capture tourists, gamblers, conventions and locals,” says McCarthy, whose new concept is also overseen by Beverage Manager Mike Palamaro. “Locals are fixed on farm-to-table and healthy and variety. So if a guy from Margate wants to bring his wife here, she might want a piece of fish and he wants a big burger.”
Although there are quite a few of toppings available for burgers to mold their own burgers ranging from onion straws ($1.25) to chipotle aioli ($1.25) to mac and cheese ($2) to seven types of cheeses ($7), McCarthy says the menu will evolve to include more choices of set burgers.
“We are going to create more of a burger list,” she said. “We will still have all of the toppings there for people to build their own, but I think people like more fixed burgers with suggestions.”
Unlike most burger bars, Broadway Burger Bar also features an entrée selection with organic roasted chicken ($18) with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach.
“The idea is that we are in The Quarter and in Atlantic City, and in the winter, which is not our season, we need to depend more on conventions,” McCarthy says. “So to accommodate everyone, we can offer them a complete menu. I have a customer who is a poker player who came in once a week all summer and he ate something different every time he came in here. One day he tried the salmon. And he was shocked because he was sitting in a burger bar thinking he was eating the best salmon he ever had.”
The beauty of Broadway Burger Bar is its versatility. Since music is offered on weekends and for special events, the bar area is a great place to grab a drink and an appetizer, including house-made guacamole and pico de gallo ($6) with pita chips; salt-and-pepper calamari ($14) with sweet chili sauce; fish tacos ($10) with lime-marinated white fish; and the Bavarian Baked Pretzel ($12), a humongous, fresh-made pretzel served hot with caramelized onion spinach dip, honey mustard sauce and crab cream cheese and scallion dip.
“I want to tag our sign with something that says ‘And so much more’ because we do have so much,” McCarthy says. “With so many options in The Quarter, I am a fan of going to a bar and having a drink and a light bite and tasting what each place has to offer. So people can do that here, too.”
Those who may not be as carnivorous have other options, too, including an array of soups and salads, including awesome French onion soup ($6); “Our Wedge” ($12) with Romaine hearts, chives, crumbled blue cheese, turkey bacon and ranch dressing; and the Loaded Up Spinach Salad ($14) with roasted beets, shredded carrots, hard-cooked eggs, toasted pecans and balsamic.
“Our two top sellers are the apple and cranberry salad and the Black Bean Roasted Corn ($14 with mixed greens, shredded carrots, tomatoes, onions, queso fresco, tortilla strips and chipotle lime vinaigrette),” McCarthy says. “We sell a lot of salads at lunchtime.”
The Tropicana location is Ark’s second Broadway Burger Bar, following the original at New York New York Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, but the Atlantic City version is more modern and featured an amped-up menu that improves on the Vegas brand.
“As we grow here, I would like us to have a reputation as a great place to hang out any time of the day, any day of the week,” McCarthy says. “We have great food and entertainment. I want people to think about us year-round for everything.”
Dessert at Broadway Burger Bar
A big part of the fun at Broadway Burger Bar are the awesome, hand-made shakes ($7) that include flavors such as caramel latte, Peppermint Pattie and orange cream. It gets even more fun when you try the adult version ($10 to $14) such as the root beer float with Root Organic Liqeur, the Peanut Butter Cup with Van Gogh Dark Chocolate and PB&J liqueurs, the cherry chocolate with Jim Beam Red Stag Bourbon and the key lime with Cruzan Key Lime Rum. If shakes aren’t your thing, there’s other homemade options such as the warm chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies ($6) that can be made into an ice cream sandwich for $3 more, bread pudding ($6), chocolate fudge brownie with homemade vanilla ice cream ($6) and seasonal house-made pies ($6).
Broadway Burger Bar Deals
Check out Broadway Burger Bar’s happy hour 4 to 6 p.m. and then again 10:30 to midnight Sundays to Fridays featuring a $5 happy hour food and drink menu that includes seasonal infusions such as roasted pumpkin, clove and cinnamon vodka plus roasted apple vodka made in-house along with beer and wine features as well as quesadillas, sliders, chicken bites, Bavarian pretzel and barley and lentil burger. With live music by Jimmy B, offered 8 to 10 p.m. Fridays and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, it’s a great bargain and a cool place to hang out on Fridays especially. Music is also offered 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Another cool deal is the “Dinner and a Movie” promotion with IMAX, located right upstairs, that includes a prix-fixe meal featuring a choice of prime beef burger, barley and lentil burger or grilled chicken sandwich plus the house-made chocolate brownie or warm bread pudding and a soft drink plus a ticket to the IMAX Theater for just 25 bucks, which also includes a $5 parking voucher. The dinner and movie promo is valid Mondays to Thursdays.