Tropicana bets on Chickie's & Pete's

The interior design of the planned Chickie's & Pete's outlet at Tropicana Atlantic City will be based on that of the outlet at Parx casino in Bensalem.

Although there have been attempts, Atlantic City has yet to see the establishment of a truly first-class sports bar. But that is expected to change later this year when Chickie’s & Pete’s opens inside Tropicana Atlantic City.

The Trop outpost of the ever-growing regional sports-bar chain will encompass two Boardwalk-front floors on the western side of the property. Plans call for a space of about 16,000 square feet containing 50 High-Def TVs, the PLAY2 Interactive gaming system that has proven to be a hit at the C’s&P’s inside Parx casino in Bensalem—whose upscale interior design owner Pete Chiarrocci said will be the basis for the new eatery’s layout and décor.

For Chiarrocci, establishing a (next-to-the) beachhead in AyCee is a no-brainer. “Bringing the crabs to the ocean will really work for us,” he predicted, adding that his stores in Ocean City and Wildwood are very successful.

Not surprisingly, Ciarrochhi noted that the gangbusters business done by the Parx outlet “figured into” the decision to build the  Tropicana store, which he said would be “bigger than [the C’s&P’s] in Egg Harbor Township, but smaller than [the one in] South Philly.” He also credited the casino’s top gun, Tony Rodio, whom Ciarrocchi described as "a great guy and a great president and CEO. He has vision.”

Ciarrocchi said he’d love to be open this summer, but couldn’t yet set a date because he is unfamiliar with the construction processes in Atlantic City in terms of permits and the like.

In 2011, ESPN bestowed upon the South Philly Chickie’s & Pete’s the status of “best sports bar” in the North America.

New menus at Robert’s

While we’re talking casino food, be advised that Robert’s Steakhouse inside Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel, has unveiled lounge dining and cocktail menus.  Among the eight munchies offered are coconut shrimp with Dijon mustard cream ($21), Maryland crab cake with red pepper aioli ($19) and meatball pomodoro and crostini ($14).

Among the specialty cocktail offerings is the appropriately named “High Roller.” It features Louis XIII brandy, oven-roasted orange, Grand Marnier 150 and 24K gold (which, we presume, lines the glass). All this can be yours for a mere $250 a pop.

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Tourney time at Borgata

The 2013 Winter Poker Open at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa got off to a flying start Tuesday when 3,871 players sat in on the $500-$60 Big Stack No Limit Hold'em event. According to the folks at the Big B, that makes it the largest single poker event ever on the East Coast.

The tournament continues through Feb. 1 with the $3,500 buy-in World Poker Tour championship beginning Jan. 27. Because last fall’s Borgata WPT contest was taped for future TV broadcast, this one—which boasts a $2 million prize pool--won’t be. But it will be streamed at

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Benet at Harrah’s

Singer Eric Benet Saturday checks into Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City for a one-night stand. Benet (pronounced BEN-ay), is generally described as  a member of the “neo-soul” movement, actually has a repertoire that covers everything from old-school soul and contemporary R&B to hip-hop and Christmas music.

Harrah’s Resort, 777 Harrah’s Blvd. 9 p.m., $55, $45 and $35, 800-736-1420,