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CasiNotes: Caesars parties all month, & a gastropub hits the scene

PRETTY MUCH everyone knows that Atlantic City's first legal casino was Resorts International (now Resorts Atlantic City), which opened its doors in May 1978. But what was the second gambling den of the modern era?


PRETTY MUCH everyone knows that Atlantic City's first legal casino was Resorts International (now Resorts Atlantic City), which opened its doors in May 1978. But what was the second gambling den of the modern era?

If you said Caesars Atlantic City, give yourself a pat on the back.

It was on June 26, 1979, that what was then known as Caesars Boardwalk Regency first welcomed the public.

To commemorate that auspicious occasion, Caesars is staging a month-long celebration with a full slate of special events and dining and shopping deals.

A hotel lobby exhibit of archival photos detailing the property's history is among the ways the casino is marking its birthday.

Throughout the month, various restaurants are offering discounts.

Mia, the upscale dining salon run by Georges Perrier and Chris Scarduzio, has a $30 prix-fixe menu including soup or salad, choice of roasted Atlantic salmon or grilled free-range chicken and choice of butterscotch budino or creme brulee for $30 Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Or, you can avail yourself of the $19.79 dinner at La Piazza buffet every Friday beginning at 4:30 p.m.

On June 26-28, for the same price, Phillip's Seafood at The Pier Shops at Caesars will serve you either roasted chicken, fried shrimp and fries or shrimp scampi and linguini. For another $19.70, you can get a bottle of Relax Riesling, Santa Ema Sauvignon, Jargon Pinot Noir or Cellar No. 8 Merlot.

If you want to spend the night, $149 gets you a deluxe room and a $60 dining credit for Primavera's lobster-dinner special or Mia's prix-fixe dinner. You'll also leave the hotel with a pair of pearl earrings.

On the special events front, Thursdays will be "Caesars Classic Cinema" night on the beach, where there will be free screenings of three 1979 hits - "Being There" (Thursday), "All That Jazz" (June 18) and "Rocky II" (June 25).

It all culminates on the night of the actual anniversary when three veteran entertainers - Ann-Margret, Paul Anka and Tony Orlando - will share a bill for the first time in their illustrious careers in the Circus Maximus Theater.

And for the younger crowd, June 26 is also when Dusk, the hip, new dance club fronted by DJ AM, opens in the space once occupied by Planet Hollywood. That night's festivities will be a private event; the public is invited for the party on June 27.

Caesars Atlantic City, Boardwalk at Arkansas Avenue, 609-348-4411,

The Elvi have landed

Who's the best Elvis Presley impersonator (er, tribute artist)? The preliminaries of the "Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest" hosted by Resorts Atlantic City will answer this burning question tonight and tomorrow

Conducted by Legends in Concert and sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc., the two-day competition will send one make-believe King to Memphis the second week of August to compete in the final event. Besides the trip, this weekend's winner will also receive $1,000 cash and a Resorts getaway package.

According to a press release, judges will rate the performers on "best representation of the Elvis legacy in talent, appearance, performance, stage presence and overall tribute."

The Memphis champ will be offered a 12-week Legends in Concert performance contract, $20,000 and recognition by Elvis Presley Enterprises as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2009.

Resorts Atlantic City, Boardwalk at North Carolina Avenue, 9 tonight and 8 p.m. tomorrow, $25, 800-736-1420,

It's a start

A casino-owned restaurant can usually be found inside a casino.

But not Megan's Good Grub & Pub, the just-opened eatery on the Boardwalk at Indiana Avenue.

Megan's, billed as AyCee's first "American gastropub" is operated by Pinnacle Entertainment, whose north-of-a-billion-dollar mega-resort on the site of the old Sands Hotel & Casino has had its construction put on hold because of the sour economy.

Opened on the site of the now-closed Opa Bar & Grille, Megan's will showcase the cuisine of acclaimed chef Joel Dincher, whose resume includes running the kitchens at the Sands' much-missed Brighton Steakhouse and The Palm at The Quarter inside the Tropicana.

The menu at Megan's is divided into three parts: "Big Grub" (e.g. Kobe meatloaf with mashed potatoes, pan-roasted Atlantic salmon), "Small Grub" (tapas-style plates including shrimp and grits, Maine lobster roll and raw oysters) and "Pub Grub" (bar snacks like house-roasted cashews, blue crab deviled eggs and house-cured dill pickles).

"Everything will be made from scratch and with the utmost attention to detail," says Dincher. "For example, we intend to roast our own cashews and cure our own pickles in-house, cut our own meats and use Jersey fresh fruits and vegetables in season from local farmers.

We will not cut corners."

For more info, go to *

Chuck Darrow has covered Atlantic City and casinos for more than 20 years. Read his blog

E-mail him at

And listen to his Atlantic City report Saturdays at 1:25 a.m. with Steve Trevelise on WIP (610-AM).


Due to an editing error, an item in Chuck Darrow's CasiNotes column yesterday gave the incorrect date for several parties celebrating Caesars Atlantic City's 30th anniversary and the opening of its new dance club Dusk. A private party will be held June 26; the public is invited to a second event June 27.