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Two Jose Garces Restaurants Are Opening in Atlantic City

The chef’s four Jersey Shore spots closed in 2014 when Revel shuttered — and now Amada and Distrito are coming back

Distrito in Ocean Resort Casino
Ocean Resort Casino [official photo]

When the Revel casino-hotel in Atlantic City shut down in 2014 after just two years in business, it took four of Jose Garces’ restaurants with it. The chef, who is filing for bankruptcy and cites the casino closure as the start of his financial woes, gets a partial comeback to his name when Ocean Resort Casino opens in the former Revel space later this month with 16 bars and restaurants, including outposts of Garces’ Amada and Distrito. Both were in Revel.

Garces is providing “culinary expertise and menu consultation” at Amada, Distrito, and a barbecue restaurant, Pit Boss BBQ & Beers, under a restaurant management agreement, says Ocean Resort Casino owner Bruce Deifik. The restaurants themselves are not directly part of the bankruptcy proceedings. As a representative for Garces Group explains, Ocean Resort Casino owns the restaurants. Garces Group holds the management contracts and the contracts are included as assets in the sale of Garces’ restaurants (likely to Louisiana-based food company Ballard Brands). The auction will take place on June 26.

The Garces restaurants at Ocean Resort Casino “will open and operate as normal — as all Garces restaurants are during this process,” the rep says.

Revel also included the Iron Chef’s Village Whiskey, also in Philly, and his AC-only noodle bar, Yuboka, but neither are part of the Ocean Resort plans. The original Amada, Garces’ first Philly restaurant, is in Old City. The original Distrito is in University City.

A New York location of Amada closed in March and the Distrito in the Moorestown Mall closed last month.

Early last year, Garces opened seafood spot Olon and Japanese eatery Okatshe in the Tropicana Atlantic City.

The full lineup of Ocean Resort eateries includes high-end steakhouse American Cut from Marc Forgione, which was in Revel, along with Italian restaurant Dolce Mare, bruncherie Harper’s, burger chain Wahlburgers (from Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and their chef brother, Paul), the 24-hour Café 500, Zhen Bang Noodle & Sushi, and the rock ‘n’ roll-themed Villain & Saint. Italian cravings can be sated at LaScala Pronto. For dessert, Sweetie Pie Creamery should hit the spot. And, presumably for cereal, there’s Cereal Town. Starbucks and grab-and-go spots round out the offerings.

Ocean Resort opens June 28, the same day as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, going into the former Trump Taj Mahal.

A burrito at Distrito
Ocean Resort/Facebook


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