Margaritaville opens at Resorts in Atlantic City - FOX 35 News Orlando

Margaritaville opens at Resorts in Atlantic City

Posted: Updated:
People dance around a bar at the grand opening of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., May 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) People dance around a bar at the grand opening of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., May 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

By WAYNE PARRY | AP

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Mitchell Etess thinks he knows the biggest thing that was wrong with New Jersey's oldest casino.

"There weren't a whole lot of people sitting around New Jersey or Pennsylvania that said, 'Let's go party tonight in Resorts,'" said Etess, whose Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority now runs Resorts Casino Hotel. "I don't even think their parents were doing that."

But that's all in the past now that Resorts has one of Atlantic City's newest entertainment attractions.

The casino held a grand opening Thursday for Margaritaville, the $35 million restaurant, bar, and gambling complex that's part of a $70 million expansion and renovation of Resorts. It was 35 years ago this weekend that Resorts became the first casino in the United states to open outside Nevada.

"This place is an example of the fun and entertainment that Atlantic City can be all about," Gov. Chris Christie said. "New Jersey is back, we're ready for summer, and there's nothing that will keep this state down if we all work together."

The Jimmy Buffett-themed project is expected to breathe life into a casino that had struggled to compete with newer, bigger casinos in Atlantic City and in neighboring states. In announcing the project last year, Buffett said the boardwalk and beach were ideal locations for the latest of 25 Margaritaville complexes he has helped to open in U.S. and international resort destinations.

Buffett, who did not attend the opening, had predicted that his fans, who call themselves Parrotheads, will feel at home in the new location.

"Atlantic City has always historically been a great beach town and needless to say I kind of thrive in those kinds of communities," Buffett said last June. "And it certainly does not go without being noticed by me and a lot of people that work for me that the Jersey Shore has the largest flock of Parrotheads up and down the Eastern Seaboard. So, with helping bring back a great beach town, we are also giving a flock of migrating birds a nest to come to."

It features a Margaritaville restaurant, the LandShark Bar & Grill, Margaritaville-themed casino space, the Five O'Clock Somewhere Bar, a retail store and a coffee shop. A giant blender, an ode to that frozen concoction made famous in Buffett's signature song, will welcome guests at its front entrance.

Pam Foldes of Penndel, Pa., was one of them. Sitting at the bar with a balloon animal tied to her head early in the afternoon, she said Margaritaville will make her much more likely to play and stay at Resorts when she visits Atlantic City.

"I love it here," she said. "The bartenders are marvelous. They literally jump to find out what you want and bring it to you. It feels very friendly here."

Sitting next to her was Mari Hehl of Stratford, N.J. They two had never met but were well on their way to becoming good friends after a short time at the bar.

"The crowd, I think, is the best indication of what's going to happen," she said. "There's a lot of people here. I think it's going to do well."

Margaritaville employs 600 people in Atlantic City.

Twelve Margaritaville-themed table games and 160 similarly themed slot machines will be part of the casino.

It has island-themed decor, an indoor lighthouse, palm trees and tropical-blue skies and clouds painted onto the ceilings. A week of auditions was held to select the bands and singers that will perform live there.

The project is part of a five-year-old effort by Atlantic City casinos to offer more than just gambling, particularly since so-called "convenience gamblers" who would ride the bus into town, play slots for a few hours and then go home, now have casinos much closer to their homes in Pennsylvania and New York.

Smaller projects like Margaritaville will likely do more to restore Wall Street's willingness to invest in the resort than would another large project following the bankruptcy of the $2.4 billion Revel casino hotel project, an analyst at a major casino industry conference held Wednesday in Atlantic City said.

Other work recently done at Resorts that is not part of Margaritaville includes hotel room renovations, new carpeting for the entire casino floor, and a food court.

"It's going to open the eyes of a lot of entertainment seekers," Etess said. "To quote Jimmy Buffett, 'It's a complete change of attitude.' It's not your mother's Resorts anymore. We are changing the perception and we are changing the reality."

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Ex-NBA player: Re-entry tougher than serving time

    Ex-NBA player: Re-entry tougher than serving time

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:50:46 GMT
    Jayson WilliamsJayson Williams
    Former NBA player Jayson Williams says trying to re-enter society after serving time for shooting a limousine driver was more difficult than being in prison.
    Former NBA player Jayson Williams says trying to re-enter society after serving time for shooting a limousine driver was more difficult than being in prison.
  • Governor Christie wants to do away with campaign donation limits and realty transfer fees

    Governor Christie wants to do away with campaign donation limits and realty transfer fees

    Thursday, April 17 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:08:25 GMT

    During his town hall meeting in Somerset County on Tuesday Gov. Chris Christie said he believes there should be no limits on the amount of money people can donate to political campaigns, as long as they disclose their contributions within a 48-period, according to nj.com.

    During his town hall meeting in Somerset County on Tuesday Gov. Chris Christie said he believes there should be no limits on the amount of money people can donate to political campaigns, as long as they disclose their contributions within a 48-period, according to nj.com.

  • Man with samurai sword arrested at New Jersey deli

    Man with samurai sword arrested at New Jersey deli

    Thursday, April 17 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-04-17 13:27:28 GMT
    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    Employees at a southern New Jersey deli say they feared for their lives when a man walked in and brandished a samurai sword. It happened at American Deli in Lower Township.
    Employees at a southern New Jersey deli say they feared for their lives when a man walked in and brandished a samurai sword. It happened at American Deli in Lower Township.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices