BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The general manager of the Palace Casino Resort predicts a busy summer for the casino industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Keith Crosby says that confidence is demonstrated by his company's $52 million expansion. Phase one of the project, the new Palace Buffet, opened this week. The 300 seat restaurant combines eating and entertainment.
"It's exceeded all of our expectations. Very proud of the things that have happened here. And can't wait for the rest of this casino to open," said food and beverage manager, Jim Brown.
A proud food and beverage manager showed visitors the all new buffet.
"We tried to keep our finger on the pulse of the guests. We've moved the great things. And brought in some new things too," said Brown.
Like the Asian-themed "wok your way," which combines food and entertainment.
"You get to come in and pick your own ingredients. And then we'll have a chef that will cook it up right as you watch him."
Among the tried and true is the comfort food station where down home cooking dominates.
"Fried chicken. Catfish. Fried chicken livers. Mashed potatoes and gravy," said Brown.
"This is one of my favorite stations. This is our "flame station." Everything in this station is basically influenced by flame cooking," said the food and beverage manager.
Brown says warm and welcoming best describes the new buffet. Customers will enjoy not just a meal but a dining experience.
"Our goal is to let you participate. We want you to come in, pick your ingredients, pick your spices, pick your sauces and make the meal the way you'd make it at home, with only a little bit of work," says Brown.
The casino's general manager says the new buffet is simply "a taste of things to come." Phases two and three of the expansion project will open in June and August.
"For us, it's getting back to where we were the day before the storm. We felt pretty good about ourselves and the direction we were going. It's a reinvestment in our folks, in our customers and the community," said Crosby.
Along with the live cooking stations, the new restaurant features plenty of gulf coast seafood and of course a wonderful desert bar.
The second and third phases of the Palace expansion include an expanded gaming area and a remodeled hotel lobby, with a new spa and business center.