Margaritaville complex part of Atlantic City casino expansion

Two men sit in chairs on The Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., outside Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant at Resorts Casino Hotel. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Mel Evans

New Jersey’s oldest casino recently held a grand opening for Margaritaville, the $35 million restaurant, bar and gambling complex that’s part of a $70 million expansion and renovation of Resorts Casino Hotel.

More than three decades ago, Resorts became the first casino in the United States to open outside Nevada.

The Jimmy Buffett-themed project is expected to breathe life into a casino that had struggled to compete with newer, bigger casinos in Atlantic City and in neighboring states. In announcing the project last year, Buffett said the boardwalk and beach were ideal locations for the latest of 25 Margaritaville complexes he has helped to open in U.S. and international resort destinations.

Buffett, who did not attend the opening, had predicted that his fans, who call themselves Parrotheads, will feel at home in the new location.

“Atlantic City has always historically been a great beach town,” Buffett said. “... And it certainly does not go without being noticed by me ... that the Jersey Shore has the largest flock of Parrotheads up and down the Eastern Seaboard.”