There is an old theory started by the French that the first bite of any piece of food is the best one, and it makes sense. Think about any amazing meal you have eaten — before that first bite your brain takes you on a wild emotional ride, mixing a palpable sense of mystery with anticipation, all leading up to the moment your teeth sink in and a euphoric combination of elation and satisfaction is achieved.
Keep picturing that scenario … now imagine getting to experience it over and over for 50 days at all of the best restaurants in and around Atlantic City. Welcome to 50 Bites+.
That’s right, the event you have been pining for since last December is finally back. On Oct. 12, year three of 50 Bites+ will be officially underway. It runs for 50 days. And yes, somehow, we managed to make it better than ever before.
How? Well, let’s start with the bite count. We topped our number from last year, bringing the official count for 2017 up to 64. In addition to that, we threw in a whole gaggle of new restaurants, so you and your lucky taste buds get to forge new ground, culinarily speaking.
Of course, not everything is new. All the things you loved about the event last year are returning — you will be able to take the city by storm, eating a bite at each of the restaurants, checking them off on your lanyard as you go. Wanna hit 20 in one day? Go for it. Use up all 64 bites and want more? Buy another pass and start your adventure all over again! And don’t forget — a portion of the proceeds will go directly to The Community FoodBank of South Jersey. Already $10,000 has been donated as a result of this promotion, and you can help add to that.
If one bite is not enough for you, many spots will offer deals on upgrades, too. Did you love the cheeseburger slider at McCullough’s Pub? Well you can upgrade to three sliders for just $6. Crazy about Chef Kevin Cronin’s creations at The Iron Room? 50 Biters can grab a full order of croquettes for just $5, along with $5 Crimson Voodoo cocktails (an original creation named for one of the Jersey Shore’s greatest bands).
So, at this point you are surely wondering how you can get your hands on your very own 50 Bites+ pass. Easy — just head to ACWeekly.com/50Bites to order yours today. As the event gets closer they will be available for purchase in person at The Press of Atlantic City, The Community FoodBank of South Jersey, at the offices of Longport Media and others, so stay tuned.
If you prefer to hunt for your food, we have a perfect solution. If you can find A.C. Weekly Director of Entertainment Publications Scott Cronick from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, as he and his merry band of gluttonous misfits travel throughout Atlantic City attempting to break the record of bites eaten in one day, you can get a pass directly from him for a special price. Think it sounds impossible to find him? Here’s a hint — he will broadcast his daily radio show on 1400-AM WOND live from 4 to 6 p.m. at Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
This is the culinary event of the year. There is nothing like it. Don’t miss out!
Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern
2300 Fairmount Ave. // 609-344-2439 // AngelosFairmountTavern.com
Lobster & Cheese Ravioli
When it comes to Atlantic City institutions, it doesn’t get much better than Angelo’s, which has been here since 1935. The Mancuso family’s traditional approach to Italian is what most people flock there for, but they have some more contemporary dishes that are worth exploring. This is one of them. Pasta pouches are stuffed with a creamy, savory lobster and cheese filling then topped with a lobster cream sauce that is as delicious as it is indulgent. With a dash of fresh spinach and fresh diced tomatoes to please all textures and flavor profiles, this is a 50 Bites+ standout.
Back Bay Ale House
Gardner’s Basin, 800 N. New Hampshire Ave. // 609-449-0006 // BackBayAleHouse.com
Crabby Mac and Cheese
This gorgeous spot off the beaten path in Gardner’s Basin has always been one of the best spots in town to grab a drink and gaze at the water. We can’t think of too many things that pair better with this scenario than a bite of elbow macaroni smothered in Monterey Jack cheese with mushrooms, white truffle oil and lump crabmeat. Perfection? Yup.
Borgata Baking Company
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa // 609-317-1000 // The Borgata.com
Last year, 50 Bites+ had a massive array of mouth-watering bites to indulge in, but one thing it lacked was something for your sweet tooth. We fixed that this year. How? By adding bites like Borgata Baking Company’s incredible whoopie pie. What is a whoopie pie? Well, it’s sorta like a devil dog on steroids. A pair of moist cakes sandwiching a decadent, creamy center. Mmmm …
The Quarter Tropicana Atlantic City // 609-572-9300 // CarminesNYC.com
When it comes to classic Italian cuisine, Carmine’s is a legend. And when you think of Italian dishes, few are more classic than the humble meatball. After all, its beauty lies in its simplicity. No over-the-top sauces or flambéing needed to dazzle or distract you, instead, the meatball at Carmine’s just shows up like a Gambino gangster and smacks you right in the mouth with its strongest suit — flavor.
Tanger Outlets, The Walk, 122 N. Michigan Ave. // 609-340-1300 // CavoCafe.com
Penne with Spicy Marinara
Cavo Café may be best known for their crepes, but the truth is the menu here has always been chock full of awesome dishes, and this year’s bite is no exception. Penne pasta loaded with a marinara sauce with just the right amount of kick to make you want toorder a full portion on the spot.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City // 609-340-5030 // GoldenNugget.com
The last two years’ worth of bites at Chart House have proven that, when it comes to seafood, their game is among the most solid you will find anywhere. Can this year’s firecracker shrimp stand up to the glories of the past? We think so. Find out for yourself.
Chickie’s & Pete’s
Tropicana Atlantic City // 609-344-1080 // ChickiesAndPetes.com
Deep-Fried Lobster Ravioli
You’ve had their crab fries and loved them. Now for 50 Bites+ the folks at Chickie’s and Pete’s are about to blow your collective minds with a take on Italian food that is anything but traditional. As if ravioli wasn’t delicious enough, they have added lobster to the mix, and just for fun threw the whole thing in the deep fryer, state fair style.
Coastal Craft Kitchen and Bar
Harrah’s Resort // 609441-5402 // Caesars.com
A newcomer to both Atlantic City and 50 Bites+, Coastal Craft Kitchen + Bar has made a name for itself since setting up shop at Harrah’s less than a year ago. Most of their menu is good enough to make the list here, but the Drago oyster is a grilled, buttery bivalve sent from heaven.
The Quarter, Tropicana Atlantic City // 609-348-6700 // CubaLibreRestaurant.com
Grilled Baby Octopus
One of the more exotic options on the list of bites, Cuba Libre brings its trademark Latin flavors to a delicious truffle and citrus marinated baby octopus, cooked on its new wood-burning grill and served with smoked potato crema, crispy garbanzo beans and Spanish paprika.
Famous Famiglia Pizzeria
Resorts Casino Hotel // 609-289-8746 // Quick Bites Food Court on Facebook
Bacon, Chicken and Ranch pizza
It’s hard to go wrong with a slice of pizza. Gooey cheese sleeping on a bed of sauce and buttery dough is practically a perfect combo. But when the folks at Famous Famiglia Pizzeria at Resorts add bacon, grilled chicken and ranch to the mix, all bets are off. Is it healthy? Probably not. Is it worth the calories? Absolutely.
Formica Bros. Bakery
2310 Arctic Ave. // 609-344-8723 // FormicaBrosBakery.com
Easily the best known bakery in town, Formica Bros. is an A.C. staple. Even if you haven’t stopped in at their shop in person, you have likely munched on one of their delicious rolls, as they provide them for many of the best restaurants in the area. This year, for the first time, they will throw their proverbial hat in the 50 Bites+ ring, offering up a tomato pie that can stand dough-to-dough with any pizza in town.
Girasole Ristorante and Lounge
3108 Pacific Ave. // 609-345-5554 // GirasoleAC.com
A charming and comfortable space tucked on the south end of Atlantic City, Girasole won us over big time with last year’s spaghetti carbonara bite. This year, they may just top their past glory with this hearty meat sauce, decoratively ladeled upon ropes of fresh tagliatelle.
Golden Nugget, Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard // 609-441-8475 // GrottoRestaurants.com
Fried Eggplant Bruschetta
Grotto always seems to bring something unexpected to the list of bites, and this year is no different. They take a ho-hum item like bruschetta and turn it on its head by adding fried eggplant boosted even further with ricotta cheese and finished off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It’s a decadent dish that somehow manages to feel light and delicious. A+.
Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill
Caesars Atlantic City // 609-343-2600 //CaesarsAtlanticCity.com
Pub Spot Slider
While the food served at most pubs is usually rather basic, when you throw Gordon Ramsay into the mix, the rules change on the spot. Case in point — his celeb chef spin on the traditional mini burger, which features English sharp cheddar, maple peppercorn bacon and balsamic onions, comes to create a dish that is anything but typical.
Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino // 609-340-2000 // CaesarsAtlanticCity.com
Real Deal BBQ Smoked BBQ Wings
Guy Fieri’s latest restaurant at Bally’s shows why the “Triple D” star is a National BBQ Hall of Famer. Organic jumbo wings are dry brined for 24 hours with sugar, vinegar and a variety of spices, then rubbed with a proprietary chicken rub and smoked for six hours. Served with a bourbon brown BBQ sauce on the side, this is — just like the name implies — real deal BBQ!
Guy Fieri’s Chophouse
Bally’s // 609-340-2000 // CaesarsAtlanticCity.com
Rodeo Shrimp Dragon Roll
OK, so the sign outside says “chophouse,” but you’d be a fool to think a celeb chef like Guy Fieri doesn’t know his way around a sushi roll. This bite will make you forget all about beef or pork, as you get lost in the flavor burst that comes from the blend of crispy shrimp tempura, avocado and garlic mayo, all rolled in sticky rice.
Harry’s Oyster Bar
Bally’s Atlantic City // 609-431-0092 // HarrysOysterBar.com
New England Clam Chowder
There are two types of clam chowder and it’s really no contest as to which one wins. Sorry Manhattan, but you were never even close. Harry’s take on this classic is both creamy and clammy, and serves as a perfect beginning to a seafood feast at this Bally’s hotspot.
The Iron Room
648 N. Albany Ave. // 609-384-6400 // ACBottleCompany.com
House-cured salmon with cucumber, kewpie mayo and pickled mushroom on crostini
One of the most entertaining aspects of any meal at The Iron Room is to see what Chef Kevin Cronin has dreamed up for the menu this time. In the case of 50 Bites+, it’s a bite of salmon with flavors so complex yet delicious you will immediately ask for seconds. Luckily, a full-sized portion is just a few bucks away.
Izakaya Modern Japanese Pub
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa // 609-317-1000 // TheBorgata.com
Spicy Tuna Cracker
There are so many things that could be on this list from Izakaya — the edamame dumplings, the short rib rice balls, the soup dumplings — but Chef/Partner Michael Schulson’s spicy tuna cracker is so different, so original, so amazing, that it had to be here. Finely diced bluefin tuna is mixed with mayonnaise and Sriracha and placed on a sesame-seeded, fried rice cracker that is wrapped around nori. The result is crispy yet soft on the inside, and the sliced jalapeno on top adds a nice kick.
Bally’s Atlantic City // 609-340-0099 // JohnnyRockets.com
Route 66 Burger
Johnny Rockets prides itself on being the all-American burger joint. A slice of Americana from way back. This year’s bite mirrors that concept. Named for the iconic American highway of yesteryear, the Route 66 is a 100 percent Angus beef burger piled high with Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and grilled mushrooms with a touch of mayo to hold the whole thing together.
1545 Pacific Ave. // 609-344-2200 // KelseysAC.com
As delicious and comforting as soul food may be, one thing it is generally not known for is quirky preparations. Most times you are lucky if it’s not served on a styrofoam plate. But at Kelsey’s, creativity is always at the forefront. Don’t believe us? You will once you sample their soul-Asian fusion concept. We are talking macaroni and cheese, collard greens and pulled pork, all rolled in an eggroll wrapper and deep fried. East meets West, indeed.
Lillie’s Asian Cuisine
Golden Nugget Atlantic City // 609-340-5040 // GoldenNugget.com
Lillie’s may be best known for its various noodle dishes, but the fact of the matter is that beyond the noodles lies one of the best items on the menu, “The Nugget.” What is “The Nugget” exactly? Oh, just your basic blend of tempura-battered cabbage, carrot, shrimp and scallops drizzled with ponzu sauce and spicy mayo. One bite is all it will take.
Resorts Casino Hotel // 609-431-4100 // Margaritaville AtlanticCity.com
Lava Lava Shrimp
Some call them bang bang shrimp, but Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville calls them Lava Lava Shrimp. Whatever you call them, they are scrumptious. Small shrimp are battered, golden fried and drizzled with a chili-and-lime-spiked aioli so good you’ll want to ask for some extra on the side.
Mexico Restaurant & Bar
3810 Ventnor Ave. // 609-344-0366 // MexicoRestaurantBar.com
Hands down, no doubt, Mexico has THE best chimichangas in South Jersey. No one is even close. Now 50 Bites+ goers can taste why. Pulled, seasoned chicken is stuffed inside flour tortillas with cheese and a little bit of peppers for some added flavor. It is then deep fried to a golden crisp. Order a side of sour cream, rice and beans for the ultimate Mexican meal.
Nero’s Italian Steakhouse
Caesars Atlantic City // 609-348-4411 // Caesars.com
There are a lot of meatballs out there, but there is only one that comes from Chef Maurizio DeMarco, and that is the one served at Nero’s Italian Steakhouse in Caesars. Luckily for you it’s also their contribution to 50 Bites+ this year. The exact recipe is under lock and key, but it hardly matters, as cooking one isn’t half as fun as eating one.
Tropicana Atlantic City // 609-340-4053 // OkatsheRestaurant.com
When you see “chicken wings” listed as the bite at Okatshe, your mind may assume they are of the standard buffalo variety. But slow down. After all, this is the same restaurant that pretends to be a Japanese candy shop, so naturally, things are not always as they seem here. Instead of the predictable buffalo, Award-winning Chef Jose Garces allows flavors of ginger, garlic and scallion to take over, creating a little bite of paradise right inside the Trop.
Tropicana Atlantic City // 609-340-4050 // OlonRestaurant.com
Bites come in all shapes, colors and styles of cuisine, and one of the hottest trends around the culinary scene is ceviche. But the Shrimp Ceviche at Olon goes beyond the standard offerings you might see elsewhere, combining Mexican blue shrimp, jalapeño, tomato and lime vinaigrette with avocado and cilantro to create an unforgettable bite.
Oshi Modern Asian Kitchen
Harrah’s Resort // 609-441-5000 // Caesars.com
Pork and Bok Choy Dumpling
If there is one thing an Asian kitchen must nail every time, it’s a dumpling. Oshi Modern Asian Kitchen does just that with its scrumptious pork and bok choy dumpling. It is bound to make repeat visitors out of you.
231 S. Tennessee Ave. // 609-344-1113 // PicALilliAC.com
What can we possibly say about Pic-A-Lilli’s wings that we haven’t said before? There is no discussion to be had — these are the best wings you will ever eat. And with your 50 Bites+ pass you get three of them. If you have ever seen a Pic-A-Lilli wing, you will know that they are FULL wings (meaning the drumette and the flat part are still attached, essentially making each wing here equivalent to two wings anywhere else). Three full wings with choice of seven sauces? Unbeatable.
Resorts Casino Hotel // 609-289-8152 //Quick Bites Food Court on Facebook
Turkey Bacon Melt
What we have learned from Ruby’s over the years is that if it has two slices of bread around it, Ruby’s is going to knock it out of the park. Their SuperBurger crushed it at Burger Bash, their Hickory Burger was a fan favorite at last year’s 50 Bites+, and this year’s turkey bacon melt is going to have your head spinning. What is it? Well, it starts with oven-roasted turkey, hickory-smoked bacon, grilled onions and Swiss cheese, but the best part is that it’s all pressed between two slices of their grilled parmesan sourdough bread. Yup, that’s the same bread they use on the SuperBurger. Your prayers have been answered.
The Original Soup Man Delicatessen at Quick Bites Food Court
Resorts Casino Hotel // 609-317-4276 // Quick Bites Food Court on Facebook
Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwich
“No soup for you!” Literally. Although clearly this place is best known for its soups (the New York location was the original inspiration for “the Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld), soups take a back seat this year in favor of the awesome pulled BBQ pork sandwich, which takes hand-pulled, house-roasted pork and tops it with house-made coleslaw. Just don’t kiss in line while waiting for your bite. NEXT!
300 Oriental Ave. // 609-344-8669 // TonyBoloneys.com
Mini Truffle Mozzarella Stick
Last year for 50 Bites+, Tony Boloney’s offered up one of its wildly outside-the-box pizza slices. Owner Michael Hauke is never one to repeat himself or stick to the norms, though, and so this year he is stepping even farther outside the box, offering a mozzarella stick like you have never seen. We’re talking homemade truffle mozzarella with a truffle panko bread crumb crust and either marinara or vodka sauce to dip in. Wow … just wow.
Tony’s Baltimore Grill
2800 Atlantic Ave. // 609-345-5766 // TonysBaltimoreGrill.com
This bite was so popular last year we just had to bring it back. There is nothing fancy or modern about the dish, but that is what is so perfect about it. It’s just their ground beef meatballs, perfectly seasoned and soaked in their homemade gravy that rivals any Italian joint in A.C. Try it this time on a slider roll, but stay and have a meatball pizza for the best of both worlds.
2 Convention Blvd. // 609-347-7800 // TunTavern.com
Fried Brussels Sprouts
There was a time not so long ago when the reputation for brussels sprouts had created so much bad press for the humble veggie that it all but disappeared from the American dinner table. Luckily things have turned around, and with the aid of some fearless chefs, this once-maligned sprout has staged a serious comeback. And Tun Tavern has stepped up to take things to the next level by deep frying them, dusting them with truffle parmesan cheese and a chipotle mayo for dipping. If you haven’t tried one, you need to do so.
Harrah’s Resort //609-441-5747 // Caesars.com
If a $5 margaritas at happy hour were your main reason for heading to Veracruz we would have to forgive you (lord knows they are amazing), but while margaritas are nice on their own, they were built to wash down hearty morsels of Mexican-inspired cuisine, such as the superb carnitas taco. Veracruz has made it their bite this year. They take pulled pork, throw it in a flour tortilla and top it with charred pineapple, pickled red onion, tomatillo and just enough cilantro to make it utterly perfect.
Vic & Anthony’s
Golden Nugget Atlantic City // 609-441-8355 // GoldenNugget.com
Maple Glazed Quail
If we were going to rank this list, Vic & Anthony’s Maple Glazed Quail would be near — if not at — the top of the list. Quail is seasoned with a spicy dry rub then perfectly fried before tossed in a maple glaze consisting of everything from maple syrup to chipotle peppers. Accompanied with overdressed greens and Sriracha sauce, they are sweet, hot and full of flavor. They are like the best chicken wings you ever had … that aren’t chicken.
White House Sub Shop
2301 Arctic Ave. // 609–345-1654 // WhiteHouseSubShop.net
Choice of regular Italian or meatball sub
Is there anything that screams “Atlantic City” more than a sandwich from the immortal White House Sub Shop? We don’t think so. And if the last two years’ Bites are any indication, this will most likely end up being one of the largest Bites out of the bunch. We could sit here and describe the perfect lineup of meats inside these subs, but frankly they are so legendary, they need only speak for themselves.
Tanger Outlets The Walk, 2100 Baltic Ave. // 609-541-2799 // WingcraftAC.com
There are a lot of reasons to go to Wingcraft. The incredible beer selection, the wildly delicious apps, the friendly staff … but if you bought a 50 Bites+ pass, there is but one reason, and that is the poutine slider. A Pat La Frieda burger topped with cheddar cheese curds, French fries and short rib gravy, one bite will have you upgrading to the full-size experience.
Wonder Bar and Grill
3701 Sunset Ave. // 609-344-8888 // WonderBarACNJ.com
Philly Cheesesteak Spring Roll
If you haven’t been to the Wonder Bar since their massive renovation that finally takes full advantage of their breathtaking bay view, then hopefully 50 Bites+ will get you there. When you visit, you will notice that the food is better than ever. We have all tried so many takes on the classic cheesesteak, but these homemade cheesesteak spring rolls are as cheesy and crispy as you would hope they would be. While there, grab some seafood or a sandwich and experience a true shore destination.
The Hi-Point Pub
5 N. Shore Road // 609-641-3172 // Hi Point Pub on Facebook
Buffalo Shrimp Mac & Cheese
Ok, we will admit it — we never thought Hi Point Pub would be able to top their amazing crab bisque — which was one of the biggest hits on last year’s 50 Bites+ roster — but if anything can do it, it’s their buffalo shrimp mac and cheese. Seriously, just let those words sink in and you will understand. Buffalo. Shrimp. Mac and cheese. We’re done here.
3700 Brigantine Blvd. // 609-264-5740 // TheCoveBrig.com
Whole Smoked Wing
Our favorite thing about the Cove’s smoked wing is that it’s customizable. While it would be superb on its own, with its smoky, earthy flavor and light crisp skin, The Cove gives you the option of topping it with one of seven sauces — orange coconut, Thai chile, classic buffalo, Sriracha lime, raspberry-ginger BBQ, chipotle butter or the incredibly hot and intimidatingly named “Incendiary.”
EGG HARBOR CITY
500 W. White Horse Pike // 609-965-3303 // AssaggioGalloway.com
Let’s just get right down to it — when it comes to creamy Italian sauces, Carbonara is tough to beat. Assaggio! puts a nice twist on the