Saturday, May 23, 2015

What's next for Garces' and other restaurants at Revel?

The closing will have an impact on the outside restaurateurs at Revel - the largest of which is the Garces Group, which employs more than 250 people at Jose Garces' splashy, 11,000-square-foot Amada, his adjacent Yuboka noodle shop, and at Village Whiskey and Distrito Cantina.

What's next for Garces' and other restaurants at Revel?

Jose Garces submitting to another photo session at the Amada at Revel in Atlantic City before the restaurant´s opening in April 2012.
Jose Garces submitting to another photo session at the Amada at Revel in Atlantic City before the restaurant's opening in April 2012. Michael Klein / philly.com

The impending closing of Atlantic City's Revel casino will throw more than 3,000 people out of jobs.

The move also will have an impact on the outside restaurateurs at Revel - the largest of which is the Garces Group, which employs more than 230 people at Jose Garces' splashy, 11,000-square-foot Amada, his adjacent Yuboka noodle shop, and at Village Whiskey and Distrito Cantina.

The restaurants opened in spring 2012.

A spokeswoman for the restaurateur on Tuesday said the restaurants' closing dates were not yet known. They might not coincide with the casino's announced closing on Sept. 10. The spokeswoman did not comment further on Garces Group's plans.

The company, which joined the project early on, is believed to have paid for a substantial portion of the multimillion-dollar build-outs.

Questions abound: Is Revel's shutdown "permanent"?

If a new operator comes in, would Garces' leases be washed away or honored?

What's to become of private parties booked at the Atlantic City Garces restaurants?

The most important question is the human one. What about the employees, thrust out of work as two other casinos prepare to shut down?

Given that the busy fourth quarter is coming up, some Atlantic City managers and key employees could be transferred to Garces' properties in Philadelphia and Moorestown, including Amada, Distrito, Village Whiskey, Garces Trading Company, Rosa Blanca, Volver, and its catering division.

Garces also has projects in the works in Philadelphia, including a cafe at his headquarters at 2401 Walnut St. and a bar and catering operation at the former Old Original Bookbinder's. He also just opened Rural Society, an Argentinian-style steak house, in Washington's Loews Madison Hotel, and has an Amada teed up for New York City in 2015.

Also on the hook at Revel are restaurateurs Robert Wiedmaier, Marc Forgione, LDV Hospitality and Luke Palladino.

Facing disruption as a result of the Revel's closing - albeit on a much smaller scale - is Tony Boloney's, the sandwich shop that opened in 2009 and fed Revel's construction workers two blocks away.

Owner Mike Hauke said he would lose his deal with Mussel Bar, the Wiedmaier restaurant, for which he makes its mozzarella. (For that matter, think of the entire restaurant supply industry at the Jersey shore.)

Hauke, who has since opened a second location in Hoboken, said he didn't expect an impact on his own business on Oriental Avenue. 

"I don't think our proximity [to Revel] helps us," he said. "They all come from all over. The problem is that the conversation now [about business] is so negative."

Update (4:40 p.m. Wednesday): 

Garces Group issued a statement: "Yesterday, for the first time, Revel management provided official notification that they will cease operations no later than September 10, 2014, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals.

Regrettably, the circumstances surrounding Revel’s future are beyond our control. We are in direct contact with Revel’s senior leadership and are doing the very best we can to understand and share information with our employees about the future of the property as it becomes known. And while they, and we, are still hopeful for the sale of the property, we must acknowledge Revel’s notification in the context of our own operations. These unfortunate circumstances now require that we initiate an orderly wind down of our business, while continuing operations.

We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our employees and thank them for their continued professionalism, passion and exceptional commitment to our guests and colleagues.

Philly.com
About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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