The action is heating up at Valley Forge Casino Resort, the King of Prussia gaming hall that is scheduled to open March 31.
If you just can't wait to get a peak at the mini-property (by law it's limited to 600 slot machines and 50 gaming tables) that, when it opens, will be Pennsylvania's 11th such facility, be advised that Saturday, the first two of what will eventually be seven restaurants and bars open for business.
Valley Tavern will have a British pub vibe with a selection of beers on tap and a menu featuring such dishes as shepherd's pie and fish and chips. The bar, which will offer live music on select evenings, is open 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Nosh Deli's moniker is pretty much self-explanatory. It's a casual eatery specializing in what casino execs promise are "oversized" sandwiches. Hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
As will be the case with all the casino's eateries, patrons will be admitted to the casino floor by showing proof of purchases of $10 or more (the same holds true for retail outlets, otherwise you can only gamble there if you are staying at one of the Valley Forge Convention Center complex's 486 hotel rooms, or if you buy a casino membership.
The next big dates at VFCR are March 27 and 29, when casino testing (with play money) commences. Should that go smoothly, the dice will start tumbling for real just after midnight on March 31.
That date, of course, is just two days before the Revel mega-resort opens its doors on Atlantic City's Boardwalk. Valley Forge cost $150 million to build. That means you could build it 16 times with the same money the $2.5 billion Revel cost.
The folks at the Atlantic Club (formerly Atlantic City Hilton) weren't just blowing smoke when they announced they were seriously decreasing the prices at the casino's restaurants. While the spaces themselves are unchanged, the price points are no longer as high as they were when AyCee's western-most casino was trolling for high rollers.
Now that the property has rebranded itself as a "locals'" hang out, many entrees in such formerly high-priced eateries as the Simon Prime steak house (now called Simon AC), Ono Chinese Bistro & Bar (which used to be just Ono) and Patsy's Trattoria (nee Patsy's) clock in at under $20.
As in St. Patrick's Day, that is.
Saturday, Harrah's Chester promises to go all-out in its celebration of all things Irish. The agenda includes $3 Killians and shots of Jameson from 4 to 6 p.m., $3 Miller Lites all day (although we're not so sure what's so Irish about a beer brewed in Milwaukee), food specials and a performance by popular Irish band, Blackthorn, which will perform for free at 3 p.m. in the Grand Stand section of the race track.
In addition, the riverside casino is sponsoring a series of rugby events at Quick Stadium on the campus of nearby Weidner University. At 10 a.m. Hibernians RUFC scrums it up with North East Irish RUFC. At 11:15 a.m. the Monsignor Bonner High School squad faces off against St. Augustine's Prep. And at 1 p.m., the battle for the "Donnybrook Cup" begins, pitting the USA Tomahawks against the Ireland Wolfhounds (for more on this, go towww.donnybrookcup.com).
If you're planning to be in Atlantic City Saturday instead, Resorts Casino Hotel is where the Gaelic action will be as it stages an Irish Festival.
The bash will include live music by Mythica, The Barley Boys andSlyte of Hand, all of whom perform traditional Celtic music on bagpipes, fiddles and the like, Irish dance performances, arts and crafts from the Emerald Isle and even green beer. Admission is free with a Resorts Star Card or $5 if you don't have one (you can get one for free at the casino).