google-site-verification: googlea74c1dbc0ed24fc0.html Atlantic City Plugged In: TENNESSEE AVENUE RENAISSANCE BEGINS WITH FOUR EXCITING, DIVERSE CONCEPTS



ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – AUGUST 18, 2017 – The highly anticipated Tennessee Avenue Renaissance Project has officially begun.

Mark Callazzo, CEO of Alpha Funding and Owner of The Iron Room in Atlantic City, has teamed up with Evan Sanchez and Zenith Shah, Co-Founders of Authentic City Partners, to acquire nearly a dozen properties to transform the beaten down beach block of Tennessee Avenue into a bustling neighborhood featuring retail, restaurants and bars, special attractions and renovated apartments, including artist housing for the Atlantic City Ballet, that will attract everyone from millennials to retirees.     

"We’re going to turn Tennessee Avenue into the main street of Atlantic City,” says Callazzo, who has enlisted some well-known names to help bring the project to life. “New Orleans has Bourbon Street. Philly has South Street. Atlantic City will have Tennessee Avenue.”

The centerpiece of the first phase will be the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, a fun, hip alternative to the Atlantic City bar scene that will feature dozens of craft beer options, video games and pinball, pool tables, the best jukebox in town and a “down and dirty menu” conceptualized and executed by partner Charles Soreth, best known as the owner and chef of local favorite Sublime Seafood Company in Egg Harbor Township. The menu will feature some of Sublime’s signature items, including the greatest fish sandwich ever created and awesome lobster tater tots, and will also include the best hot dogs in South Jersey, greasy burgers that can be piled high, German-style hot pretzels, creative takes on the classic grilled cheese, a “big ass gringo taco” and more. With gorgeous brick accents, fun graffiti art and over-the-top cocktail menu, the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall – also known as “The Ten” – will also bring the party outdoors. For starters, the front of the former Wandy’s Restaurant space will feature an open front so people can enjoy the ocean breezes while feeling like they are part of the Tennessee Avenue scene, which will eventually include street fairs, pop-up art exhibitions and festivals. Plus, the adjacent two lots will feature a giant outdoor beer garden with dozens of beers on tap, fun outdoor games, outdoor seating with umbrellas, an inflatable movie screen for special events, live music, sporting events and much more. The other partner on The Ten will be Scott Cronick, director of entertainment operations for The Press of Atlantic City and daily talk show host on Newstalk 1400-AM WOND, who will help oversee the operation and use his marketing skills to attract people to the beer hall, as well as the whole street.

“I said I would never own another restaurant, but Charles’ and Scott’s passion changed my mind,” Callazzo says. “I think it’s going to be the place to hang, whether you’re a local or tourist. Being steps off the boardwalk and just a few blocks from the new Hard Rock Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, The Ten is going to be the place to hang out all day, pre-game before a concert or grab a late-night bite after a long night of partying.”

A big-name casino chef will also be part of the Tennessee Avenue renaissance. Deborah Pellegrino, Executive Pastry Chef for all three Caesars Entertainment properties in Atlantic City, will team up with her Chef husband Mark Pellegrino to offer Atlantic City’s first chocolate experience: MaDe Atlantic City Chocolate Bar.

The bean to bar chocolate shop concept will feature hand-selected cocoa beans from various countries that will be roasted, processed and refined into chocolate bars on-premise at the Tennessee Avenue shop. Visitors will not only be able to taste Pellegrino’s handmade chocolates, but will also be able to tour the production area and learn the process. If Pellegrino’s chocolate bars weren’t enough to entice you, there will also be a bar that overlooks the glass-enclosed production area featuring unique chocolate experiences and of course wine to pair with the handmade chocolates.  The same creative, genius food experiences that guests have come to expect at Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s will continue as Deb will remain with the company.

MaDe – which are the first two letters of Mark and the first two letters of Deb – has even more meaning. “Everything will be made in Atlantic City, made with love, made by us in our own place...finally!” says Deb Pellegrino, who will also wholesale the same chocolate to other retailers and restaurants. “We are really excited and chose to create this shop because we have roots in AC and want to be part of revitalizing the city again.”

Another well-known local entity – Evan Sanchez – will partner with Zenith Shah to debut Hayday, which Sanchez says will become “Atlantic City’s go-to-coffee shop and a center of community.” Hayday will feature quality coffee and espresso drinks, artisanal ice cream from The Iron Room and homemade baked goods from Kizbee’s Kitchen. Named after William Hayday, who invented the rolling chair in 1887, the name also has a deeper meaning and provides a true sense of place to the shop.

“Hayday is us proudly claiming Atlantic City’s rich history and is representative of us moving forward into a new ‘hayday’,” says Sanchez, who co-founded the non-profit community organization This Is AC. “We are excited to be involved in the creation and execution of the Tennessee Avenue project as a whole and to be on the block every day at Hayday, Atlantic City’s coffee shop.”

The fourth concept in the first phase of the renaissance is The Leadership Studio, the area’s first yoga studio. Founded as a social entrepreneurial endeavor by Grace & Glory Yoga Enterprise Founder Alexandra Nunzi and yoga instructor Kathy Whitmore, a retired Atlantic City educator. If the name sounds familiar, it should. The Leadership Studio has been operating through pop-up yoga classes around the city for more than a year with partners such as the Boys & Girls Club, the Atlantic City Multi-Cultural Centers and others, offering free yoga and wellness classes to AC residents and scholarships for yoga teacher trainings and leadership development programs, which they will continue to do. The brick-and-mortar studio on Tennessee Avenue will be funded by donations and grants only and will set out to employ Atlantic City residents that have completed the training programs. Classes will be offered in multiple languages and for all levels. A studio-naming contest will begin this month with an intention of having the community collaborate on the overall look, feel and brand of the studio.

“The mission of The Leadership Studio is to create leaders that can cause impact in their neighborhoods by first committing to personal transformation for themselves, which is the avenue of the Baptiste Yoga philosophy,” Nunzi says. “We believe the city’s history of fragmentation will be healed when people come together to make themselves well, which in turn, will make the community well.”
All four businesses aim to open in the fall, and construction has already begun on this first phase. There are other opportunities available on Tennessee Avenue for interested businesses in the next phase.
“We want to start the renaissance right now because we feel the timing is right,” Shah says. “We see Tennessee Avenue as an integral part of the Atlantic City comeback story alongside Stockton, South Jersey Gas and Hard Rock. We’re building something special for our community in the heart of Atlantic City.”

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