Cleveland chef Michael Symon — restaurateur, TV personality, cookbook author, James Beard Award winner, and staunch defender of meat — announced this morning that he'll open an Italian restaurant late next year at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. "This is the food I grew up eating — my Sicilian grandmother would be proud," Symon said in a release. "[Authentic Italian] is what I cooked in my early career and still what I like to make at home."
Planned for fall 2016, the unnamed restaurant will join an extensive line-up of eateries from high-profile figures including Symon's fellow Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Geoffrey Zakarian, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Schulson, and Greg and Marc Sherry. Becky Schultz, Vice President of Food & Beverage for the hotel casino, said, "We are thrilled to bring Michael Symon to Borgata with the debut of his first Italian restaurant."
Symon recently opened a counter service-only burger spot in an Urban Outfitters in Austin, and he's hoping to launch Mabel's BBQ in Cleveland next month after severe delays set it back over a year. His lofty goal at Mabel's is to invent a new regional barbecue style centered around Cleveland's Eastern European influences — think kielbasa and sauerkraut — with a brown mustard-based sauce.
Borgata has been the scene of a few misunderstandings in the past 18 months. Last year, a server at the hotel casino's Bobby Flay Steak allegedly misinformed a diner about the price of a $3,750 bottle of wine, describing its cost with the ambiguous term "thirty-seven fifty." And early this year, the casino defended itself against accusations of racism after its Metropolitan restaurant served a soul food-themed meal in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Menu items included fried chicken and collard greens, which the restaurant explained "were among King's favorite foods, as documented in numerous historical sources."