A $3 million investment has turned the now-closed Italian restaurant at IP Casino into a new 24/7 eatery with “a playful mix of cuisines,” said IP food and beverage manager Stephen Morgan.
Plus, a new lounge offers a self-serve, wine-tasting machine for those wanting to sample bottles at different price points.
The ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Sept. 25, formally introduces the public to Bayview Cafe and the adjacent 850 Wine & Spirits. The names from the IP’s address at 850 Bayview Avenue.
The new restaurant, trimmed with brick, brass and oversized lampshades, replaces Costa Cucina Italian restaurant and is across from the hotel check-in.
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Customers asked for a place that would be open 24 hours, said Emily Burke, public relations manager for IP Casino. Both the restaurant and adjacent bar are open around the clock, and she said the addition expands room service to 24 hours.
“In the middle of the night you can get a great hamburger,” she said. Or guests can order breakfast from the new menu anytime.
IP house chef Chris Roche and his staff put together a menu that offers dishes influenced by Cajun, Asian, Italian, American and Southern cuisines, Morgan said.
“You can have a different experience each time you come in,” he said.
“Mom’s Pot Roast is our No. 1 selection,” he said, made with a recipe borrowed from the mom of one of the chefs. It’s also the makings for a pot roast grilled cheese sandwich with pimento cheese.
Several menus for lunch, dinner and late night provide a variety of tastes like a vegan-friendly burger and Seoul Food, which is a Korean-style braised short rib. Other appetizers or lite bites are crawfish spring rolls and Bayou Beignets made with local blue crab, shrimp and crawfish.
Morgan said they’ve also incorporated some of the favorite dishes from the Costa Cucina menu, and top the meal off with a slice of Boozey Nanner Cream Pie or other choice from the dessert menu.
A separate bar menu adds cheeseburger sliders and mahi-mahi fish and chips.
A towering wine cellar divides the sprawling restaurant from the new lounge, where the curved bar has plugs for cellphones and hooks for purses. Together they provide seating for 350 people.
The centerpiece of the lounge is an Italian Enomatic wine dispenser that lets customers try a 1-ounce sample of wine for as little as $1.60 or splurge on a full glass of Plumpjack or higher end wine for $59 a glass.
“Run down the line and do a little tasting,” Morgan invites. Mississippi ABC allowed the dispensing machine, he said, which keeps white wine perfectly chilled at 45 degrees or red wine at 54 degrees.
“I don’t know of anyone else in the state that’s been allowed to do this,” he said.
John Gaulke, IP Casino’s wine sommelier, also has chosen a selection of nice and affordable bottles of wine at under $25.
The new venues added more jobs, Morgan said, as additional staff was hired to cover the 24-hour schedule. The restaurant also provides a healthy menu for the spa, he said, and food to be delivered to the poker room.
Morgan said the improvements continue at IP.
“We’re giving Chill a whole refresh inside,” he said. In addition to a makeover, walls are being built to contain the sound and experience inside the first floor nightclub.