Casino execs, night club owners among applicants for Wildwood beach bar

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The top beach bar proposal comes from two former casino executives, the bottom from Philadelphia night club owners. Keith Symonds of Ocean City did not provide a schematic of his plan in his proposal.  The top beach bar proposal comes from two former casino executives, the bottom from Philadelphia night club owners. Keith Symonds of Ocean City did not provide a schematic of his plan in his proposal.
WILDWOOD — Two former Atlantic City casino executives, a group of Philadelphia night club operators, and the owner of Ocean City’s Varsity Inn Restaurant were the three applicants who submitted proposals to operate Wildwood’s beach bar by the Jan. 29 deadline.

Now, the city plans to award a contract to one of them by Thursday afternoon.

Joseph Domenico of North Wildwood and Donald Marrandino of Ventnor City are the owners and operators of JDDM Beach Bar Operations. Both men have had careers spanning about 30 years in the casino industry.

“With all of its great amenities, natural resources, and a fun environment; a beach bar on the fabulous Wildwood beach would be an attraction for all age groups,” their proposal reads.

They plan to pay the city a $30,000 flat fee annually from 2014 to 2018, as well as 3 percent of revenue once the bar makes over $1 million. They plan to spend $500,000 in start-up costs to get the bar running.

Domenico worked as senior vice president and general manager of Bally’s, Caesar’s and Showboat Atlantic City from 2007 to 2011 and Marrandino was eastern division president of Caesar’s Entertainment from 2009 to 2013.

According to their proposal, both men have managed beach bars and night clubs in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, including Bally’s Bikini and Sammy Hagar’s Beach Bar, the Pool at Harrah’s, Dusk at Caesar’s, and Showboat’s House of Blues.

Beach Buddy, LLC also submitted an application, and listed Mark Marek and Anthony Morrison of Philadelphia as the proposed managers of the beach bar.

“We are energized by the opportunity to assist the city of Wildwood in developing a family-oriented, signature food and alcohol beverage facility on Wildwood beach,” Beach Buddy’s proposal reads. “We recognize the value and importance of this unique project as pivotal to the city in furthering its plan of offering a premier resort experience in the city of Wildwood.”

For 2014, they propose to pay the city a $55,000 flat fee to operate the bar, plus an additional $35,000 if it isn’t up and running by Memorial Day. That fee increases annually, maxing out at $88,099 in 2018. The company does not plan to pay Wildwood a percentage of the bar’s revenue, according to the proposal.

Beach Buddy, LLC is a joint venture between Morrison, Marek, Anthony Sembello of Egg Harbor Township and Christopher Herghelegiu of Ivy Land, Pa.

Marek owns and manages Rumor Nightclub and Soundgarden Hall in Philadelphia, and Sembello owns Rouges Gallery in Philadelphia.

The last proposal was from Keith Symonds of Ocean City, who owns the Varsity Inn Family Restaurant in Ocean City. He plans to pay the city $100,000 annually to operate the beach bar, which he would call The Sandbar.

He said his mission was “to establish a family-friendly, all American restaurant, entertainment bistro” that would embrace an “old-time” Wildwood beach and boardwalk theme.

“More Villanova, Temple, Parrothead, less Snooki and JWoww,” Symonds’ proposal reads. He added that he didn't believe the project could be "up and running correctly by Memorial Day."

According to city administrator Chris Fox, the Board of Commissioners plans to make a decision and award a contract at a recessed meeting 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 at City Hall, 4400 New Jersey Ave.


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