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2021 Year End Review

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article

Print Date 12.31.2021

By Judy Brenna

Dear Diary,

What a year, am I right? I find it hard to not reflect on the tremendous changes we experienced, some not so hot, some pretty amazing ((as I hear Tito from Dirty Dancing whispering in my ear, “Lots of changes, Old Max, lots of changes”.)) And I’m not just talking about me. I remember this time last year, sitting at the very same spot on my couch ((same spot in the living room, very different couch)), writing the last line of my article, “Until next week, ((locking biohazard helmet to hazmat suit in place and pulling the sanitizer spray bottles from hip holster))”, thinking and hoping how 2021 was going to be SO different, and not just the post-apocalyptic roving gangs of cannibals I predicted. But! I reiterate, 2020 was a dumpster fire for everyone, we can all agree… except for the plexiglass and toilet paper industries. Oh, and Netflix. Thankfully, 2021 year was definitely different. I remember sitting in my living room last New Year’s Eve ((clearly I spend a lot of time in this room)), staring at the TV screen, 5 cocktails deep, as the ball began to descend, everyone else in the room snoring, silently praying for an end to all of this pandemic rigmarole, to find a job, and to grow out my then pencil thin eyebrows. 2 out of 3 wasn’t bad. I mean… I got a job, a great one, with great purpose ((shameless work plug, shout out to The Deauville Inn!!)), ergo I have an identity again ((jotting down notes for my next therapy session)), and I have my eyebrows back.

The GACCA alone, went through a revamp in a way, with many of the members representing new venues, and very sadly saying goodbye to some. And we even welcomed a new board member into the fold, Milton Glenn III, of the Absecon Lighthouse. He’s very good people, so we’re happy. But the changes themselves leave me perpetually reflective. I am, by nature, a creature of habit and comfort. I never liked change. I have always been severely lacking the adventure gene. When I’m forced into a scenario of change, the anxiety of it all forces my eyes to leak, involuntarily. But thanks to the pandemic, unemployment, and grown-in eyebrows, I am slowly learning to welcome and embrace change, albeit at a glacial pace.

We’ve said fare thee well to some very cherished restaurants, like Ri Ra Irish Pub, Olon, and Okatshe in the Tropicana, The Continental and Buddakan at the Pier at Caesars, Wolfgang Puck’s American Grill at Borgata ((pouring several out for the fallen), and welcomed new restaurants to the community in 2021, like Jerry Longo’s Meatballs and Martinis at Bally’s, American Bar & Grill at Borgata, Dougherty’s Steakhouse & Raw Bar at Resorts, and Makai at Ocean, just to name a few. We even saw some resort ownership change hands. And we will get to see some pretty awesome new venues opening in 2022.

One of my most cherished places to go in New York City, when I was in college, is going to be opening a location at Ocean this spring, Serendipity3. Home of the world famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, Serendipity3 will offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience transporting Ocean’s guests into a fantasy world filled with great food and dream-sized desserts. The 8,000-square-foot restaurant and adjacent ice cream parlor will feature a whimsical interior with a modern twist and a nod to Serendipity3’s iconic history. I cannot explain to you how unbelievably excited I am for their debut. I have the fondest memories of going to Serendipity with my college friends, ordering the absolutely most delicious comfort food and randomly bursting into a cappella

song at the table ((theatre kids are the WORST!)). And what’s even more exciting, we will be welcoming a new hotel concept this summer, Nobu Hotel and Restaurant at Caesar’s. Nobu Hotel Atlantic City, including a Nobu restaurant, illustrates Caesars Entertainment’s commitment to invest $400 million on Caesars Atlantic City by 2023. The investment will also include remodeling room towers and suites and enhancements to the casino floor. All in all, Caesars hopes to revitalize the Atlantic City Boardwalk and give visitors the option of a world-class experience.

My point in all of this ((yes, there is one)) is where tragedy falls, change and rebirth are soon to follow. We are persevering. It's part of our human condition. And even though this new variant sounds more like an alien nation from Star Trek Next Generation ((Captain, the Omicrons are threatening to board our ship!)), I believe we will continue to persevere and rise. Granted, I thought I would be burning my face masks in effigy this New Year’s Eve, because I thought we’d be done with this by now, but it’s ok. WE will be ok. Wishing you ALL a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2022! ((reluctantly taking the pile of face masks off the gas grill and closing the lid)). 2022, let’s do this!

Sincerely Yours,

Judy Brenna

Catering and Special Events Director – The Deauville inn

Until next week, Folks! #stayjerseystrong

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