Anthony DePaul remembers his badge number, No. 593, just as easily as recalls stepping on Patrick Swayze’s shoe.
In 2003, fresh out of graduating Widener University, DePaul accepted a position at the still-under-construction Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. DePaul was tapped to run the Metropolitan, a 400-seat high-volume, twenty-four hour restaurant.
DePaul moved up the ranks at the Borgata, before taking a beverage manager position at Starr Restaurants in Atlantic City. In 2012, DePaul was called on again to be a part of the opening team at a highly-anticipated casino, Revel.
Working in food and beverage operations at casinos prepared DePaul for where he is sitting right now – in a restaurant with his name above the front door.
In an interview with Play Pennsylvania at DePaul’s Table on Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore, DePaul shares memories of his time on the opening team at Borgata and Revel, how working at casinos prepared him to open his own restaurant and why family is at the heart of DePaul’s Table.
Opening the Borgata
What was it like being a part of the Borgata’s opening team?
“It was such an amazing team,” said DePaul. “The people I 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 the service bars and in the restaurants. To see a man of his caliber be that in-tune was amazing. Larry Mullin succeeded him and was fantastic, also. They were great men to learn from.”
After a few years running the Metropolitan, you were promoted to nightlife manager. You were a part of a team who managed Gypsy Bar, B Bar, Murmur and Mixx. How do you launch and cultivate a nightlife program at a casino?
“It was a lot of thought with some of the best people in the business. Jonathan Spadafora who now runs nightlife in Vegas, Howard Weiss … It was just a bunch of great minds collaborating, attention to detail, and creating lists and exclusivity.
“It’s still surreal. It was a dream come true and something I have wanted to do since I was a busboy. The people I met, from celebrities, celebrity chefs, the pro sports teams…In the beginning of the night you saw everybody 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 since the Borgata. The project cost $2.4 billion and the casino closed 17 months later. DePaul was selected to be the General Manager of Marc Forgione’s American Cut Steakhouse.
“It was a shame. Working at American Cut Steakhouse, we would do 500-600 covers a night then walk out on the casino floor and no one would be there. I think they didn’t come out of the gate right with certain things. But the food and beverage was unbelievable.”
From high stakes to high-end steaks
How did working in food and beverage operations at casinos 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 the best and continues to do it the best. They teach and train their employees like no other. Working in a casino taught me organization and preparation. Know your profit-and-loss, know your labor and food costs, inventory, and scheduling. Those skills teach you how to run a business.”
DePaul’s Table centered around family
DePaul got married and now has four sons, Anthony, Dante, Roman and Franco. His wife, Tina, is a school teacher and DePaul soon realized that working in a casino and being married with young children wasn’t a life he could sustain. When the opportunity presented itself to join forces with Justin Weathers and Joe Monnich of the Stove and Co. Restaurant Co., he turned to his family for guidance. Family, for DePaul, was not only at the heart of his decision, but it’s the heart of DePauls’ Table.
“DePaul’s Table represents family, friends, guests, great food, well-made drinks and good times. Personally, some of the best times and memories happen around the table at my home. I want DePaul’s table to be a place where our guests can feel at home and share their own memories and experiences together. I wanted to create a place I would be proud of and that I could see my own family enjoying.”
A risk worth taking
DePaul sits at a white-tablecloth table a few hours before dinner service. His eyes widen and he smiles often when he recalls working at casinos.
“I love the excitement. There is nothing like the excitement of walking out onto the casino floor. Time goes so fast there.”
He feels a similar excitement at DePauls’s Table.
It’s always a gamble to open a restaurant, especially during a pandemic. What makes DePaul’s Table worth the bet?
“I am a little bit of a risk-taker and I tried to time it where we would be opening up at hopefully the tail-end (of the pandemic).
“The best person to bet on is yourself. I know what I can do. I have faith in myself. Is it risky? Of course. But there is a point in everyone’s life you have to take a calculated risk and go for it. I want to create something my kids can be proud of. To see the look on their faces when they come here, it’s surreal.”
DePaul’s Table menu a cut above
DePauls Table takes over the former historic home of Haverford Trust Bank which dates back to the early 1900s. The multi-level 10,000 sq. ft. space features a menu with steaks, chops, and seafood.
“You have to be consistent. The guests are extremely savvy on food, wine and service which I love.”
Executive Chef Joe Galicia leads the kitchen which uses the finest cuts of Dry Aged Pat LaFreida meats. The premium, 30-pound cuts of beef arrive from Pat LaFreida where they are dry aged, in-house for 28 days.
From left: Kobe meatballs, filet Oscar, bone-in tomahawk ribeye.
Lead image and all photos c/o DePaul’s Table