Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino Losing Another Celebrity Chef Restaurant

Written By David Danzis on December 14, 2023 - Last Updated on January 19, 2024
izakaya restaurant entrance at borgata atlantic city casino

A long-standing stalwart inside Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa will be calling it quits to start the new year.

Izakaya, a fine-dining Japanese restaurant from celebrity chef Michael Schulson, will close on Jan. 1, 2024. The high-end concept has graced the Atlantic City casino landscape – specifically Borgata – for 15 years.

According to a press release, the closure is “a strategic move that aligns with the evolving goals of both Schulson Collective and Borgata.”

No word on Izakaya replacement

Borgata has not yet announced what will take the place of the Asian-inspired restaurant.

“Izakaya has been a longtime favorite among our guests,” Anthony Caratozzolo, vice president of hospitality at Borgata Atlantic City, said in a statement, “and we thank Michael for his dedication to the restaurant over the years. We wish him success in what’s next in the Schulson Collective’s culinary journey.”

Schulson apparently has plans to open another Atlantic City restaurant in 2024.

“My team and I wish the Borgata best of luck — they have truly been fantastic partners,” Schulson said in a statement.

“As our restaurant group continues to grow, we look forward to creating dynamic concepts in the Atlantic City market in the near future.”

Izakaya, which opened in 2008, was Schulson’s first-ever restaurant. He now has 12 restaurants around the country, with plans to open new restaurants in Philadelphia, New York City and Miami sometime this year.

Atlantic City casinos love celeb chefs

Atlantic City casinos have no shortage of celebrity chef restaurants. For example, Ocean Casino Resort features Amada by Jose Garces, while Bally’s Atlantic City has Guy Fieri’s Chophouse.

Borgata’s parent company, MGM Resorts International, has moved away from celebrity chef restaurants recently. Since MGM assumed full control of Borgata in 2016, dining concepts by Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay have unceremoniously closed, only to be replaced by comparable (but celeb-less) concepts.

Borgata is still home to Michael Symon’s Angeline.

Conversely, MGM’s biggest rival in the casino business, Caesars Entertainment, has doubled down on the celeb chef craze.

Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen opened at Caesars Atlantic City in 2022, the first Hell’s Kitchen-branded restaurant on the East Coast. The Boardwalk casino also features Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, an ode the British chef’s native fare.

Bobby’s Burgers by Bobby Flay is a new addition to Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, joining Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy. Not to be forgotten, Gordon Ramsay Steak has been a staple at the Marina District casino for years.

Photo by Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa YouTube
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David Danzis

David Danzis is the lead writer for PlayNJ. He is a New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. Today, he is PlayNJ’s Atlantic City “insider” and gaming industry expert on casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. David lives in Atlantic County, NJ with his wife and two children.

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