Fast casual dining was missing from the lineup of eateries at Scarlet Pearl Casino, said Jarrett Hipp, food and beverage manager, until two new venues opened last week.
Now, just near the entrance to the casino, customers can stop for a cup of coffee, a sweet treat, a pizza or another quick bite.
Lounge Nocherie features premium coffee and cases full of pastries made on site by pastry chef Wendy Bosarge and her staff. Comfortable lounge chairs give it the feel of an upscale French cafe.
“There isn’t a high-end coffee experience like this in any casino on the Coast,” Hipp said.
Labazza coffee, made with high-quality coffee beans imported from Italy, is used for drip and espresso coffee, he said. The cafe has handcrafted coffees, lattes, cold brews, Irish coffee and 11 fruit smoothies.
In addition to fresh pastries, there’s also bagels flown in from New York. Peanut butter and other pies are available whole or by the slice, and Hipp said they make their own king cakes for Mardi Gras and seasonal specialty pastries, such as a flight of three Valentine cupcakes
Next to the new coffee lounge is Ami Pizza? — an Italian bistro whose name is complete with a question mark, he said, because it asks in Italian, “Do you love pizza?”
A 10-inch pepperoni pizza is $12 and comes with artisan pepperoni, Cucina tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and Fontina cheese. “Or you can get premium and high-end with lobster, crabmeat and shrimp on the seafood pie,” he said, which is $18 for the same size.
“We make them to order,” he said, and bake them in a wood-fired, gas-assisted brick oven. The pizza comes out crispy, very hot and ready in about 10-12 minutes, he said.
A gluten-free pizza with cauliflower crust and goat cheese is among the varieties. Other quick bites are soup, four chilled salads and sandwiches already assembled on French bread or rosemary Ciabatta bread and ready to go on the panini press.
Ami Pizza? is open from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday starting this weekend.
Beginning Friday, Lounge Nocherie will be open 24 hours.