ATLANTIC CITY — When Revel Casino Hotel closed in September 2014, it left many — including club owner Ivan Kane — looking for their next project in the city.
Now, restaurant and club owners, such as Kane and his Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque nightclub, are starting to return to the resort, just in a different location as the former Revel, now named TEN, struggles to reopen.
Last month, Jose Garces returned to Atlantic City by opening several new restaurants at Tropicana Atlantic City, while Kane opened a new club at Tropicana late last year.
Kane said while he left Revel with a heavy heart, he was still thrilled to return to Atlantic City, which he said em-braced him during his three-year run at Revel.
As the casinos continue to try to increase nongaming revenues, the competition for restaurants and clubs has increased, said Robert Ambrose, an instructor of hospitality and gaming at Drexel University.
In 2015, nongaming revenue totaled more than $592 million, more than 16 percent of the casino industry’s $3.6 billion in revenue, according to the state De-partment of Gaming Enforcement.
Nongaming attractions have become big profit centers for casino hotels, Ambrose said.
“When a well-known brand in food and beverage or other amenity establishes a footprint at a casino hotel property, they become formidable partners with the entire operation,” he said. “There is a strategic marketing alliance that takes place, and both the brand and the casino hotel benefit.”
Garces lost four hugely successful operations when Revel closed in 2014: the Spanish tapas restaurant Amada; the burger-meets-whiskey pub Village Whiskey; the Asian-inspired Yuboka Dim Sum & Noodle; and Guapos Tacos/Distrito Cantina. Now Garces has turned to Tropicana and opened three new restaurants, with three distinct themes.
“Each of the three restaurants has a unique look and feel that transports guests to either a Japanese streetscape, seafront coastal town and beachside beer bar,” Garces said in a statement.
Meanwhile, IDEA Boardwalk, the operators of Center Bar, the HQ Nightclub and HQ Dayclub, are all planning on returning to the as-yet unopened TEN. IDEA is involved in a legal dispute with owner Glenn Straub over issues related to the property’s bankruptcy.
But Kane said the Tropicana opportunity was too good to turn down.
Kane said he jumped at the chance “to once again become part of the fabric of A.C.”
He added, “It’s good to be home.”