Anthony DePaul remembers his badge number, # 593, as easily as he remembers step on Patrick Swayze’s shoe.
In 2003, fresh out of Widener University, DePaul accepted a position at the university still under construction. Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. DePaul was hired to lead the Metropolitan, a restaurant with 400 seats at high volume, 24 hours a day.
From Paul climbed the ranks in Borgata, before taking up a position of Director of Beverages at Michelin-starred restaurants in Atlantic City. In 2012, DePaul was once again called to be part of the opening team of a highly anticipated casino, To delight.
Working in restaurant operations in casinos has prepared DePaul for where he is sitting right now – in a restaurant with his name above the front door.
In an interview with Play in Pennsylvania at DePaul’s table on Lancaster Avenue at Ardmore, DePaul shares memories of his time on the opening team in Borgata and Revel, how to work in casinos prepare him to open his own restaurant and why family is at the heart of DePaul’s Table.
Opening of the Borgata
What was it like being part of the Borgata’s opening squad?
“They were such an amazing team,” said DePaul. “The people I’ve worked with and the level of attention to detail, I’ve never seen anything like it. Bob Boughner was the CEO at the time and he would walk around with a glove and check for dust. He would be in service bars and restaurants. To see a man of his caliber be so fair was amazing. Larry Mullin succeeded him and was also fantastic. They were great men to learn from.
After a few years at the helm of the Metropolitan, you were promoted to director of nightlife. You were part of a team that ran Gypsy Bar, B Bar, Murmur and Mixx. How do you start and grow a casino nightlife program?
“It’s been a lot of thinking with some of the best people in the business. Jonathan Spadafora who now runs the nightlife in Vegas, Howard Weiss… It was just a bunch of great minds who collaborated, who paid attention to detail, and who made lists and exclusivity.
“It’s always surreal. It was a dream come true and something I have wanted to do since I was a service boy. The people I have met, celebrities, celebrity chefs, professional sports teams… At the start of the night you saw everyone at their best and at the end of the night you saw them as normal people.
Working at Revel
Revel was the first casino to open in Atlantic City from Borgata. The cost of the project $ 2.4 billion and the casino closed 17 months later. DePaul was chosen to be the CEO of American Cut Steakhouse by Marc Forgione.
“It was shameful. Working at American Cut Steakhouse we would make 500-600 covers a night and then walk out onto the casino floor and no one would be there. I think they didn’t come out the door properly with it. some things, but the food and drinks were amazing.
From high stakes to premium steaks
How did working in casino catering operations prepare you to open your own restaurant?
“Borgata prepared me to run a restaurant and own a business. The Borgata, in my opinion, did it best and continues to do it best. They teach and train their employees like no other. Working in a casino taught me oorganization and preparation. Know your profit and loss, know your labor and food costs, your inventory and your planning. These skills teach you how to run a business.
DePaul’s family-centered table
DePaul got married and now has four sons, Antoine, Dante, Roman and Franco. His wife, Tina, is a teacher and DePaul soon realized that working in a casino and being married with young children was not a life he could support. When the opportunity arose to partner with Justin Weathers and Joe Monnich of Pan et Cie. Restaurant Co., he turned to his family for advice. Family, for DePaul, was not only at the heart of his decision, but also at the heart of DePauls’ Table.
“From Paul‘s Table represents family, friends, guests, great food, well-prepared drinks and good times. Personally, some of the best moments and memories happen around the table at my place. I want From Paulat the table to be a place where our guests can feel at home and share together their own memories and experiences. I wanted to create a place that I would be proud of and that I could see my own family enjoy.
A risk to take
DePaul is seated at a white tablecloth table a few hours before the dinner service. His eyes widen and he often smiles when he remembers working in casinos.
“I love the excitement. There is no such thing as the excitement of stepping out onto the casino floor. Time flies so quickly there.
He feels an excitement similar to DePauls’s Table.
It is always a bet to open a restaurant, especially during a pandemic. What makes DePaul’s Table worth the bet?
“I’m a bit of a risk taker and tried to time it where we would hopefully open up at the end (of the pandemic).
“The best person to bet on is yourself. I know what I can do. I have confidence in myself. Is it risky? Of course. But there is a time in everyone’s life when you need to take a calculated risk and go for it. I want to create something my kids can be proud of. Seeing the look on their faces when they come here is surreal.
DePaul’s Table menu a step above
DePauls Table takes over the historic former home of Haverford Trust Bank which dates back to the early 1900s. The multi-level 10,000 square feet the space offers a menu with steaks, chops and seafood.
“You must be consistent. The guests are extremely knowledgeable about the food, wine and service which I love.
Executive Chef Joe Galicia runs the kitchen which uses the finest cuts of Pat LaFreida Dry Aged Meats. The premium 30-pound cuts of beef arrive from Pat LaFreida where they are dry-aged, in-house for 28 days.
Left to right: Kobe meatballs, Oscar tenderloin, bone-in tomahawk rib eye.
Main image and all photos c / o DePaul’s Table