Revel casino will have 14 restaurants

Posted: April 12, 2012

The enormousness that is the new Revel Atlantic City can be boiled down to numbers: 14 restaurants, 1,900 guest rooms, in a mega-casino towering 47 stories over the city's South Inlet section.

But Revel's restaurant complement can be boiled down to two Philadelphia men who operate as Vibrant Development Group: Chuck Bragitikos and Jason Spillerman.

More than five years ago, they met with Kevin DeSanctis, Revel's chief executive. DeSanctis told them that it not only had to be big, it had to be distinctive.

Bragitikos and Spillerman were asked to engineer the mix of retailers, entertainment, spas, and restaurants for the Revel Atlantic City. The complex is now in a preview phase, pending its opening Memorial Day weekend.

"We wanted to make it entrepreneur-driven," Bragitikos, who had also assembled tenants for the Quarter at Tropicana, said in an interview last week. That means restaurateurs would not be bankrolled by the casino. They would have to bring their own designers, ideas, and money to the table.

"We also wanted concepts - unpretentious, authentic, welcoming, not stuffy - that would resonate with our feeder markets," Bragitikos said.

Atlantic City's traditional customer bases are Philadelphia, New York, and Washington. The developers decided that Washington was untapped. And so, by Revel's grand opening, among its dozen initial restaurants will be several backed by D.C. chefs: Mussel Bar from Robert Wiedmaier and the Michael Richard concepts Central, O Bistro & Wine Bar, and O Bistro Dining Room.

Vibrant went all over the map for the concepts: Philadelphia's Jose Garces, for Latin and Spanish cuisine, Wiedmaier for Belgian, Marc Forgione for steak.

Garces, incidentally, has the largest operation: branches of Amada and Village Whiskey that are larger than the Philadelphia originals, plus a scaled-down Distrito next to a fixed Guapos Tacos truck. "They showed me the drawings. I was blown away," said Garces, who signed on with Revel at the end of 2007, when the project scale was even larger.

New York restaurateurs and restaurants - Lugo Caffé, Marc Forgione, Alain Allegretti, and One - account for four other restaurants. The 13th and 14th restaurants - believed to be an Asian concept and a meatball shop - are on the drawing boards.

Two of the restaurateurs - Garces and Marc Forgione - are Iron Chefs. Neither had won the title when they agreed to be a part of Revel.

Revel gave ocean views to what it is billing as its signature restaurants. Amada, which opened Monday, is a handsome Spaniard with a flamenco stage and an adjacent planxa bar that allows casino patrons to order small plates and drinks. Azure by Allegretti is a bright Riviera-themer by Alain Allegretti of New York's La Promenade des Anglais; it opens April 20. American Cut, an art-deco-inspired steak house from Forgione, also opens April 20.

Garces said he selected his three brands that are "distinctively different. I wasn't going to do Tinto here, since I'm doing Amada. I thought about Garces Trading Co. as an all-day-dining concept, but there wasn't room."

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