A Bistro With Big Ambition

Michael Brennan’s first job out of high school was at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia. He says he walked into the restaurant at age 18, in an ill-fitting shirt, to find Chef Georges Perrier standing in the door. Perrier hired him on the spot to work front-of-house, probably because restaurant week was coming up and they were about to get slammed. Now 24, Michael’s got his own restaurant, Cardinal Bistro, in Ventnor, but he still seems to have a sense of timing.In the middle of what was supposed to be a “soft opening” this summer, the restaurant critic Craig LaBan wrote a review calling him “one of the young chefs to watch this year at the Shore.” Suddenly, the kitchen was full-throttle.

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Search For Atlantic County Business Leader Turns Up Empty

Atlantic County has failed to hire a director for a planned million-dollar development corporation, a setback for a wider plan to steer the sluggish regional economy away from an unhealthy dependence on low-wage casino industry jobs. Even after a substantial search this spring and summer, no candidates from outside South Jersey could be drawn in to run the development corp. Instead, Max Slusher, the Atlantic County Improvement Authority’s (ACIA) economic development head, will perform double duty in the role for an interim period, the county’s chief of staff Howard Kyle said in an interview Monday. Although the non-profit development corporation, which should have about $1.2 million when it is fully funded, found candidates for the executive director gig, one turned it down for a better-paid alternative, and another withdrew, apparently because they couldn’t quite be persuaded to move to Atlantic County, Kyle said. Low local salaries and difficulties attracting workers to the county were both issues that were highlighted in a report by Austin, Texas-based consultants Angelou Economics that was commissioned by the ACIA and published a year ago.

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Weekend Business Picking Up For Essl’s Dugout

Essl’s Dugout on the Black Horse Pike has served five generations of families breakfast and lunch. The Dugout’s owner, Bob Essl, has seen the highs and lows of the Atlantic City area and believes the faded resort needs an image change to help it turn around. “For a resort to be as popular as it was and then to lose that….That image has been tarnished. They’ve got to bring that back,” Essl said. The positive news for his business is that weekends have been looking up.

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