Atlantic City restaurants embrace the farm-to-table trend

Chef Mitchell's fava bean sweet pea tortellini is worth the drive to the beach.
Chef Mitchell’s fava bean sweet pea tortellini is worth the drive to the beach.

You may not be able to order your favorite dish at one of the restaurants at Caesars, Bally’s, Showboat or Harrah’s at the beach this weekend — it depends what was caught that day. The four casino-hotels, part of Caesars Entertainment Corporation, are focusing on fresh, locally produced fare for Garden State to Plate, their Jersey-centric take on farm-to-table.

For executive chef Keith Mitchell, who oversees the restaurants at Caesars and Bally’s, it’s nothing new. “I’ve been doing locally sourced my whole career,” he told Metro last weekend, when we stopped by Atlantic Grill at Caesars to take in the panoramic views of the boards and beach and sample the chef’s fava bean sweet pea tortellini and house-made mozzarella with warmed sungold tomatoes.

The ingredients we gobbled up came from the 40-acre Masters Organic Farm in nearby Galloway. Masters provides produce exclusively for the Caesars properties, which means Mitchell gets to put in requests for what’s planted.

He has a similar relationship with fish and game suppliers.

“[The fisherman] will go out for clams, and I’ll get a message at 5 a.m. saying they also caught swordfish. And then we’ll design the menu around that,” he said.

With New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware offering gambling, Atlantic City has been making a big push to bring in money from restaurants and retail, not just slots and tables — and it seems to be working, Mitchell said. The majority of diners at Atlantic Grill and next-door Nero’s Tuscan Steakhouse are not gamers. People are now coming just to eat, and Mitchell wants to make sure they eat well.

The city and the casinos used to just “throw money at everything,” he said. “But people are paying more attention to what they eat and where it comes from. You have to be smart. You have to be thoughtful about what you’re putting on the menu.”

Celebrity chefs
Restaurateur extraordinaire Stephen Starr, of Morimoto, Continental, El Vez, Barclay Prime and others, is partially behind Atlantic City’s transformation into a foodie town, Chef Mitchell said. When Starr brought two of his chic Philadelphia restaurants, Buddakan (also in New York) and Continental, to the Pier Shops at Caesars, people started to realize there’s a market for that. Of course, bringing in celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Jose Garces, who have restaurants in the Borgata and Revel, doesn’t hurt either.

A few more “big name” celebrity chefs are planning to debut restaurants in AC, Mitchell said — but he’s “not at liberty” to give us the scoop on exactly who just yet.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…