Trump Plaza institutes big changes for summer

Gigi Liscio gets ready to celebrate her birthday in A.C.

Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, most people thought, would have been in a new owner's hands by summer. But with the sale of the casino off - or at least postponed - the Trump management team is making some big changes in hopes of the casino having a strong summer season.

For starters, even though Trump Plaza announced last year that it would not reopen its Beach Bar, the popular outdoor party spot will be back in business Memorial Day weekend and will remain open into September.

"The Beach Bar at Trump Plaza has been a major tourist attraction at the center of the Boardwalk for years, and we are thrilled that we are able to bring it back this summer," says Kathleen McSweeney, senior vice president of marketing for Trump Entertainment Resorts.

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Consistently the best beach bar in town since beach bars debuted on the Atlantic City scene, the large space will be almost completely rebuilt since much of the structure was left on the beach to feel the brunt of Hurricane Sandy and the winter.

With a great menu, the Beach Bar will offer buffalo chicken dip, bang bang shrimp, steamers, salads, fish and chips, cheeseburgers, sandwiches and much more, including an extensive specialty drink menu. Live music and DJs will also return to keep things lively.

The Beach Bar will be open every weekend through June starting May 24, and then will be open daily in July and August.

One thing is for sure: Executive Chef Les Bender, a one-time chef of the year by the South Jersey Professional Chefs Association and one of the best executive chefs in the city, has been busy with his staff creating and redesigning menus throughout the property.

Liquid Bar, which has always been strictly what it sounds like - a place to get alcohol - will now become a bar/restaurant with a focus on burgers and tacos. The menu will include the New Yorker Burger ($7.95) with crisp applewood bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato; the Philly Burger ($7.95) with provolone cheese, fried peppers and onions; spicy beef tacos ($6.95) with Jack cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato and salsa; pork pernil taco ($6.95) with pickled onions, lettuce, tomato, queso fresco and salsa; and the shredded chicken taco ($6.95) with Manchego cheese, lettuce, tomato and tomatillo salsa, $6.95. The kitchen from

24 Central will supply the food which will also include crab cakes, buffalo wings, onion rings and fries.

After a long hiatus, Trump Plaza will bring back its buffet, renaming it the Back in the Day Buffet and charging just $7.98 for lunch and dinner, making it the lowest priced buffet in the city, beating out Atlantic Club Casino Hotel's $9.99 buffet. The daily-changing menu will feature buffet staples, a carving station with roasted turkey and bone-in-ham, a cold station with a variety of salads, rotating chicken, fish, seafood, pasta and other entrees such as a chipotle BBQ chicken, a casino-crusted salmon, rigatoni Carbonera, meatballs Della Nonna and mussels marinara. Sides include macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and old-fashioned sage stuffing. The discount includes $2 off with a free Trump One card. The new buffet will debut June 5.

Max's Steakhouse, which has always been a solid steakhouse and may be the longest-running steakhouse in town, is being renamed Max's Prime Steakhouse and will soon feature a new menu. The upscale steakhouse will feature hand-selected Max's Butcher Cuts including filet mignon, slow-roasted prime rib - the main feature of the restaurant - as well as grilled pork chop with braised red cabbage and Apple Jack sauce, ponzo-glazed salmon with littleneck clams, whole Maine lobster, summer flounder, soups, salads, sides, desserts and more. Classic appetizers such as Oysters Rockefeller and clams casino round out the menu.

Jezebel's, the casino-floor bar, will be repositioned as a sports bar.

And the Plaza will also be the place to check out 165 new slot machines, such as Jaguar Princess, Triple Time Progressives, Firehouse Hound, Candy Bars, Take the Cake, Monkey Works, Quick Hit Fever, Black Gold, Wicked Winnings, Mummy, Superman, Cash Express Gold Class, King Kong, Sphinx, NASCAR, Cheers, Wicked Witch, Super Monopoly, and Godfather.

The popular Italian buffet will return to Roberto's this summer, most likely in June, and will feature a variety of antipastos, classic Italian entrees and pasta dishes, including its famous meatballs.

And there will even be entertainment as Beatlemania Now, an excellent Beatles tribute that was at the Plaza last summer, returns July 2 to Aug. 31.

"In addition to the Beach Bar, we've added several other new food and beverage offerings to the property, ranging from the fun and casual Back in the Day Buffet to the new dishes on the Max's Prime menu," McSweeney says. "The formula for Trump Plaza this summer is simple: a lot of fun, great variety, and affordable price points - all in the heart of the action."

Mur.mur back open

After a temporary hiatus, mur.mur, one of the most popular clubs in Atlantic City, is back open at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, and its management promises it's better than ever.

The club has a fresh new look and a redesigned concept that will be revealed on Saturday, May 18, with music by house DJ Vice.

"Mur.mur was a game-changer when it debuted in 2006, bringing with it a Las Vegas-style alternative for our nightlife customer and truly shaping the landscape within the market," says Joe Lupo, Borgata senior vice president of operations. "As Borgata celebrates its 10-year anniversary in July, we felt now was the ideal time to refresh and update one of our most successful and acclaimed spaces on property."

Mur.mur has a new color scheme, carpeting, drapery and lighting, and it still features one of the best club atmospheres in town because of its intimacy and its dance floor, which is integrated with personalized table service. Mur.mur is open Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays starting at 10 p.m.

Borgata never lets any of its concepts get stale, and this is the latest example, following a successful 2010 transformation of its other club, MIXX, which received an overhaul including an LED wall and built-in DJ booths.

Celebrity sightings

"Jerseylicious" star Gigi Liscio celebrated her birthday at the Casbah Nightclub at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort last weekend. The reality star even received a special birthday cake prepared by the Taj staff.

Changes at Pier Shops

The Pier Shops at Caesars is amping things up to get more crowds in there this spring.

For starters, one of its most successful retail outlets - It'Sugar - recently unveiled a new look to maintain its status as Atlantic City's most popular candy emporium and the retailer's top performing store in the country. With a new, modern, open shopping environment boasting new lighting, graphics, fixtures and decor, It'Sugar received a sweet facelift.

The massive Lucy the Elephant made out of candy is gone. Now, the store boasts a modern sexy, fun decor, offering everything from oversized gummy bears and candy bars to adult-themed candy.

Just steps from It'Sugar, a new venture, Cellairis, is now open, providing customers with innovative and fashion-forward cases and accessories for their mobile devices and tablets. Recently ranked No. 9 on Franchise Times "Fast 55" and quickly approaching the opening of its 700th store location. Cellairis is located next to the popular Apple store located on the first floor.

Other additions to The Pier Shops lineup includes Auntie Anne's pretzels and Cinnabon, which will open jointly across the way from Apple on the first level around Memorial Day. Cinnabon has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, and now Atlantic City can have both cinnamon sugar pretzels and Cinnabon Bites all in one place.

Other new additions expected this month include Bare Feet Shoes, Health Kingdom and Shoe Be Do.

Also, check out some new items at Stephen Starr's The Continental and Buddakan. The staff is always doing amazing menu additions, the most recent being fruit-infused cocktails and toasted marshmallow-dipped strawberries and Buddakan. Plus, a litlle Insider's Tip: the mushroom risotto served with the seared tuna is one of the best risottos in town.

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