While detractors may not be bullish on Atlantic City, the leadership at LDV Hospitality thinks those naysayers are way off. In fact, the New York City based restaurant group believes the beleaguered gaming market has plenty of opportunity, especially for great restaurants. So much potential, in fact, the group has taken a massive go big or go home attitude.
LDV Revels in Big AC Bet
LDV Hospitality thinks Revel in Atlantic City is the future of the market and has opened not one, not two, but three restaurants there. Here’s what they’re thinking.
Monday, August 27, 2012
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This past spring the restaurant group made their biggest expansion move yet, opening of a trio of restaurants inside the $2.4 billion casino resort Revel. And the way LDV co-founder and principal John Meadow sees it; this is a rarified opportunity that could not be missed.
“Revel will help redefine Atlantic City and bring in new blood and excitement there,” said Meadow. This is a huge opportunity for us because nothing is as significant as this project and it is a huge step forward for us as a company.”
Known for hatching a new breed of celebrity chefs, most notably Scott Conant who is executive chef of the company’s Scarpetta (locations include NYC, Fontainebleau Miami Beach and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas), the company is following a similar formula at Revel as it did at The Cosmopolitan. Introduce critically acclaimed dining hotspots into a property getting all the buzz.
“We believe in Revel and believe in Atlantic City and we will do as many restaurants as we can,” said Meadow, of the first all new build casino resort to open in the market since Borgata debuted in 2003. “People will come to Revel and that is what we believe. CEO EO Kevin DeScantis’ vision is certainly unique and it is a true vision. They are going against the grain, a shift that doesn’t happen overnight. In time product wins.”
So at Revel, they’re tripling down. They’ve opened American Cut, a new American steakhouse with Iron Chef Marc Forgione; Azure by Allegretti, a Riviera influenced restaurant with critically acclaimed chef Alain Allegretti; and the second outpost of Lugo Caffe, a lively and wildly popular Italian American concept with a flagship location across from Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.
Meadow said the deal was a long work in progress, taking about four years to come to fruition. All the way back to opening night of Scarpetta in NYC back in May 2008, in fact. On the first night of friends and family (when those close to the owners and chefs test out a new restaurant) the concept came up and they kept a dialogue going with the brokerage firm tasked with striking restaurant deals.
Meadow said the property was looking to do a steak restaurant with the popular Forgione, and all parties had a winning chemistry. That made getting the deal finally done a whole lot easier. Especially since Revel stopped construction for several years due to the recession.
As for the potential of the Atlantic City market, Meadow believes their establishments won’t be looking just to gamblers growling stomachs for financial sustenance. Instead, he believes the building itself will attract myriad locals and that surrounding communities will provide a good sized chunk of their customers.
“Revel will help redefine Atlantic City and bring in new blood and excitement there. The product is there and it takes time for people to change their habits and perspective. But in time product wins,” said Meadow.
He also thinks the resort’s emphasis on music, entertainment and nightlife will keep the building alive with energy and have a spillover effect into JDV’s outlets. They also expect plenty of late evening city as people come and go from Angel Management Group’s recently opened HQ nightclub and from people seeing headliners such as Beyonce, Avicii and the Eagles.
Here’s a little more about the concepts.
Lugo Caffe is a modern Italian brasserie that espouses a more “communal and convivial high energy experience,” said Meadow. All pastas are made in house and pizzas are cooked in a 900 degree brick oven. Italian classics are presented in a healthier and lighter fashion to better meet current dining trends.
Azure by Allegretti featuring Chef Alain Allegretti focuses on fresh seafood in a very elegant (but not stuffy!) setting with neat tricks like fileting fish tableside. They also feature a value priced wine program.
American Cut is the quintessential American steakhouse. They offer classics like iceberg wedge but with a Michelin starred Iron Chef in the house, they do a different spin on it.
“People take restaurants way too seriously, they are going for entertainment and we are out to give them that excitement,” said Meadow.