When the Ocean Resort Casino recently opened its doors along the Atlantic City Boardwalk, it became the newest luxury resort promising to breathe life back into the struggling resort metropolis. The new owners of Ocean Resort Casino, who began renovating the shuttered $2.6 billion Revel in January, celebrated the transformation of Atlantic City’s tallest building and looked forward to a revitalization of the city’s boardwalk.
Ocean Resort Casino owner Bruce Deifik said his team is prepared to start anew and overcome the customer-unfriendly criticism that plagued the former Revel, which actually had a now-removed wall between the resort and the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk. “Everybody, all 3,280 full-time team members, we’re all ambassadors,” Deifik said. “On the Boardwalk, we’re going to be doing the same thing.”
Heading that team is industry veteran Vincent Turrano, Vice President of Food and Beverage. “I grew up Italian so I was always in the kitchen with my mother,” Turrano noted. “Although I wasn’t formally trained as a chef, some people referred to me as chef at the other properties I worked at because I love to cook. I was never really intrigued with the food and beverage industry until I stumbled upon it.”
Turrano went to school to be an electrician at Pennsylvania School of Technology and graduated in 1982. “The economy was in bad shape. There were not a lot of jobs around so I went to Atlantic City because they were hiring electricians to build the casinos. In those days when you were working in construction, they laid you off from time to time because we weren’t always needed. During one of these periods where I was laid off, I ran into a friend of mine from high school who told me they were hiring bus boys at Resorts International.”
“So I took a job as a bus boy when I was 20 and did that for about a month. I was then promoted to a server and then I made it to the Captain of Room Service, which is similar to a butler. They didn’t have butlers back then. I started out working with all of the high-end players and entertainers and I served customers such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis and all of the Rat Pack. That’s really what got me intrigued by the whole business. I found it to be exciting and it was never the same, so I stuck with it and never went back to being an electrician,” Turrano concluded.
Turrano is overseeing a visionary and eclectic line-up of lunch and dinner options. Among the casual dining options at Ocean Resort Casino, SkyCafe captures the beach experience with relaxing views. The café features a number of traditional plates, plus a full seasonal bar menu with beer options, wine lists and a trendy selection of crafted cocktails. The Villain and Saint is for guests of all ages looking for a gathering spot that accommodates tastes that range from the conventional to the radical, from the hardcore to the frivolous, Villain and Saint rock n’ roll music hall and eatery will serve dinner daily from a simple pub menu and will offer shows four days a week. Turrano’s team is also offering a spot for BBQ lovers. Pit Boss Beer & BBQ will offer a wide selection of specialty barbeque meats and sauces along with traditional barbeque sides to complement the experience.
At Zhen Bang Noodle & Sushi, customers can enjoy sushi rolls, steaming bowls of noodles and other Asian cuisines. Burger lovers can enjoy signature dishes from the Wahlberg brothers at Wahlbergers. Mark, Donnie and their older brother Paul offer a selection of fresh burgers, house-made condiments, crispy haddock, seared chicken and vegetarian sandwiches and other signature items. Award-winning Chef Jose Garces created a specialty concept restaurant named Distrito (pictured above), a taco truck design with additional seating conveniently located in the heart of the casino. Serving lunch to late night daily, the menu features customer favorites like mahi mahi tacos, fresh house-made guacamole and el jefe margaritas.
Ocean Resort Casino is also home to the latest Topgolf outpost. Even non-golfers can play virtually in one of the 11 bays that will be the centerpiece of the 26,000-square-foot facility. Each bay offers a sweeping view of Atlantic City, televisions as well as food and beverage service for up to eight guests. Visitors can play multi-sport games or play a round of simulated golf. In the swing suite, up to eight people can play, eat, drink and hang out in each bay while enjoying the views. Topgolf Swing Suite also can be booked for corporate events, birthday parties and bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Turrano was also instrumental in bringing a diverse line up of fine dining options to the hotel. American Cut, by Chef-partner Marc Forgione returns to Ocean Resort Casino. Known for capturing the nostalgic essence of the traditional steakhouse with an ambiance that has been adapted for today’s modern social life. In addition to serving its steakhouse staples, the restaurant will offer specialties like Surf and Turf for two, 3-day dry aged Tomahawk Chop and 2-pound Chili lobster along with the property’s largest wine list and a robust selection of scotch and craft cocktails.
Executive Chef Paolo Dorigato brings a lifetime of culinary passion from his upbringing in Trentino, Italy, and his experiences at legendary restaurants Le Cirque and Cipriani to create a bold, authentic and seasonal menu of Italian favorites in their purest form. Dolce Mare will offer a mix of Dolce’s signature dishes such as the infamous meatballs over creamy polenta and Veal Milanese. Dolce Mare will also offer seafood items such as day boat scallops and Branzino al Forno. The bar showcases an extensive wine list and specialty cocktails.
Chef Jose Garces’ signature restaurant Amada will also be returning to Ocean Resort Casino. The menu will feature the rich tradition of Spanish cuisine, including popular favorite Cochinillio Asado – a whole roasted suckling pig and a vast selection of fine wines and specialty cocktails.
The team behind Ocean Resort Casino hopes to avoid the pitfalls of the short-lived Revel, which opened in 2012 only to close two years later after declaring bankruptcy for a second time. Guests complained that the setup had a confusing layout, required two-night stays, prohibited smoking and provided preferential treatment of high-end guests. A first attempt at bringing the 60 floor building back to life faltered in 2015, when Florida real estate developer Glenn Straub purchased the property for $82 million with plans to launch a casino called TEN. When various licensing and zoning regulations stalled the re-opening, and he eventually sold it to developer Deifik earlier this year.