Joe Massari, general manager of the upscale, Russian-inspired restaurant, confirmed the closing, saying changes of Tropicana ownership since the late Dennis Gomes opened The Quarter affected the demographics that once supported gourmet franchise owned by China Grill Management.
“Tropicana is just going in a different direction with its demographic,” Massari says. “Fine dining seems to be a thing of the past there, unfortunately. Our customers are shocked and just don’t understand why we’re closing. It’s a great concept and a beautiful restaurant. People just seem more interested in having an appetizer and two entrees for $20 than a fine dining meal in The Quarter.”
Although not confirmed, sources say a burger bar/American dining concept will open in the Red Square space in 2013.
It is the second restaurant to close inside the Tropicana this year, following Corky’s BBQ inside The Marketplace.
“Tropicana values its unique and fine dining experiences, and these experiences have proven to be a success at our property,” says Tony Rodio, chief executive officer of Tropicana Entertainment Inc. “Cuba Libre, The Palm, Fin and Il Verdi are some of our guests' favorite restaurants and have been very successful. We look forward to announcing a new dining tenant in the near future.
Red Square, which also has a location at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, opened when The Quarter debuted in 2004, offering a unique experience that included ice columns and an ice bar, a top-shelf caviar menu, more than 100 vodkas, a freezing walk-in vodka locker, and a Russian-inspired ambiance with Communist-flavored wall murals and a statue of Lenin.
The menu was creative and modern blending Russian classics such as the best chicken kiev you will ever find with American classics such as filet mignon and spaghetti and crab.
Under the direction of Executive Chef David Strano, who has been with Red Square since it opened, it developed an amazing reputation as a great place to not only dine, but to sip pricey vodkas and clever martinis. And it is the only Atlantic City restaurant to receive a four-star review in The Press of Atlantic City since Red Square opened.
The menu will remain intact until closing, according to Massari, and all unused food after closing will be donated to a local food bank. Until then, diners can feast on the same cuisine that made Red Square a standout, and they can also receive some deals on spirits, including 50-percent markdowns on bottles of wine and champagne, as well as $5 flavored vodka shots.
“We are riding into the sunset, but we won’t compromise what we have always been about,” Massari says. “Everything is the same in quality and experience.”
The general manager says some of his staff were already interviewed by the new concept to possibly remain employed. Massari, who was a director of food and beverage for the former Sands casino and was also a member of the opening food and beverage team for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, is looking to stay in the area to hopefully manage multiple outlets.
“I’m ready for the next challenge,” Massari says. “It’s sad to see Red Square go. We would ultimately like to see the concept move to another casino. We were the first in the city to have private dining areas and unisex bathrooms. We know this concept can work well in a casino that values fine dining experiences.”