Friday, September 07, 2012

Wild, Wild West Casino in Atlantic City, NJ Buffet Closes

In June 2012, the Virginia City Buffet located in Bally's Wild, Wild West Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey was closed permanently. There is no intention to have another buffet in this casino and Bally's is looking at redeveloping the space toward entertainment. If you are a regular reader of this site you know that this was my buffet of preference among the casino buffets in Atlantic City and I have been dining at it since it opened years ago.

It was quite a surprise to me to learn that it closed. I have not been there in a year - but usually, I don't travel to Atlantic City more than once a year - and that is primarily to walk on the Boardwalk, take in the atmosphere, and have dinner at a buffet. When I was there last August (2011) there was a line to get into the buffet and when we finally got into the restaurant there were a good number of people having dinner there. From what I have been able to learn about the reasons behind the buffet's closing was that it was financial - that those who frequent buffets are not coming to Atlantic City - which I find hard to believe. I have also read related articles that the focus of the Atlantic City casinos is to no longer cater to the "day trip gambler" but to go after the high rollers - who don't eat in buffets. (Why would they when half the menu can be comped (given to them free) and brought to their table in any restaurant in the casino?)

A new casino opened this year in Atlantic City that did not open with a buffet and likely will not add one. This casino has several restaurants with name chefs. Will this be the trend in Atlantic City?

There are articles in New Jersey publications that say the "day trippers" are going to casinos in Pennsylvania instead of coming to Atlantic City. When other states started allowing casino gambling along with the Native American-run casinos opening there had to be a drop in visitors to what was the only East Coast place to gamble - Atlantic City. But doing things like closing the casino buffets in Atlantic City is not going to attract those gamblers back - and while they will not put thousands down on the tables, they lose a considerable amount that goes into the casino's coffers by the time they leave at the end of the day.

I, myself, admit that I have gone to Connecticut rather than Atlantic City. Would I have gone to AC instead if the two Connecticut casino buffets were not there? Maybe, maybe not. Will I be heading back to AC anytime soon? I will have to think about that and decide what buffet I would be going for. A few years ago we went to several of the other buffets in Atlantic City - just to see if there was one that I would like more or just as well as the Virginia City Buffet at Wild, Wild, West. I was disappointed with each one. The articles are here for each one we tried. I did not like the buffet at Caesars which is also owned by Bally's and those employees from the Virginia City Buffet were reassigned there now. Several suggested the buffet at Showboat and I was very disappointed there. That one fell down on keeping what was put out to eat fresh, among other things.

I like Atlantic City. I liked it before there were casinos there. Long ago there was a great restaurant outside of the city called Zaberras. It was not a buffet but it was very unique and the food was good. It was an experience just sitting in one of the several dining rooms and just walking through the restaurant. It is long gone. It closed not long after the casinos and the buffets opened. It was fun. Before I was told the news - in a comment on this site - that the Virginia City Buffet was closed, and then researched what was happening, I had been thinking that I really would like to go down to Atlantic City. Well, when I got this news that did not happen. Sometimes change is good. This change was not.


songbird's crazy world said...

Yes, Atlantic City is changing. I recently read that Jimmy Buffett is bringing Margaritaville to the Resorts Hotel and Casino. I think it's a needed change -- as you said, we Long Islanders are doing our day trip gambling closer to home these days. Why go to AC when I can go to Yonkers?

I do like buffets - we ate at Chen's last night - but I can well understand the change. AC needs to be more of a "destination", not a day trip.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried the buffet at the Borgata? I haven't been there in a few years but I always thought that was the best buffet in Atlantic City. My only gripe about it is that my birthday falls in late November, my family took a ride down there to celebrate it at the buffet and it was closed for Christmas decorating. It seems like every year it closes the same week as my birthday. However, I think the quality and selection at the Borgata is the best in the city.

Writer said...

I have not tried the Borgata buffet yet. I have heard, and this may be wrong - that it is pricey. The Borgata is also off the Boardwalk at the Marina and means a trip and additional parking fee if spending the day at the Boardwalk.

Anonymous said...

if you keep your parking receipt from one casino, you can use it to get free parking in another casino. you can only do this once