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Home News-Telegram News Margaritaville Resort and Casino Bossier City: Customer service, attention to detail add up to stellar experience

Margaritaville Resort and Casino Bossier City: Customer service, attention to detail add up to stellar experience

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What makes Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville – Bossier City memorable has nothing to do with a spectacular property, nestled next to the Red River. Unless you win a jackpot, the takeaway from this welcome addition to Louisiana's gaming scene is customer service par excellence.

    “Our ownership wants to put out the best product for our guests each and every time,” said Thomas Weisburn, CCC/Pro Chef II, Executive Chef for Margaritaville. “They are involved in every aspect of service. They really care about the guest experience, no matter who you are. ”
    From the moment you drive up to the free valet parking, you are surrounded with employees who seem truly vested in making sure the experience is top shelf.  
    When we arrived Wednesday, July 3, the place was buzzing. The front desk told us every one of the hotel's 395 rooms and 35 suites had been booked for weeks. There were people checking in by the droves, people coming in the front door and heading straight to the 30,000 square foot casino (on one floor) and people making their way to the World Tour Buffet and the Margaritaville Restaurant.
    The staff seemed to take it all in stride.
    When we got to our room, housekeeping was in the hall, checking in with everyone. We asked for extra pillows and they appeared in mere moments. The rooms are beautifully appointed and the beds feel more like fluffy clouds that a mattress and box springs. The high count linens and down pillows and comforters make for some really sweet dreams. A large sloping sink in the bathroom and a huge walk-in tiled shower are also welcomed upgrades. Every room has a safe for valuables. When ours malfunctioned during the first day, five people came up to fix it.
    I appreciate the property's effort to “go green,” opting to use only fresh face cloths during our two day stay.
    The “do not disturb” sign is a play on Jimmy's signature tune: “I blew out my flip flop – come back later,” or “I found it. Come on in.” Attention to detail.
    We ate lunch at Margaritaville. We were greeted by three nice ladies who seemed tickled to death – really – to see us.
    The hostess who seated us talked all the way to the table, asking where we were from, was this our first trip and making sure we had the table we wanted. The place wasn't too busy when we got there, but it was packed every time we went by during our stay.
    Melissa was our server. She recommended the fried pickles ($9.99) and the Cheeseburger Po' Boy ($12.99).
    Of course, we ordered the Who's To Blame frozen Margarita ($14), which comes in a 22-ounce take-home blender cup. (The casino must have gone through 100K of those cups Wednesday. They gave away Margaritas before, during and after Jimmy’s VIP sold-out  show. I admit to bringing two home.)
    The pickles did not impress. I prefer the wavy dill chips to the chunks of spears they use at Margaritaville. The waves keep the batter on better. Our portion was pretty slim, too.
    But, the cheeseburger po' boy, with all the fixings and some garlic-herb mayonnaise on French bread, was more than I could master. Think of splitting it.
    We saw several show-stopping orders of Volcano Nachos ($15.99) coming out of the kitchen. They are piled a foot high with chili, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, tomatoes and scallions and could feed an army. They're on my list for the next visit.
    I had the Spinach and Artichoke Dip ($10.99) and the Crab, Shrimp and Mushroom Dip ($12.99) at the Nashville location and they were delicious.
    I've heard the Fish Sandwich ($9.99) is one of the best things on the menu, but I had to pace myself, because the World Tour Buffet and Jimmy's Steak and Seafood were also on our agenda.
    We had the chance to meet and visit with two of Margaritaville's training team, Mark Yeager, from Myrtle Beach, and William Virgo, from Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Both are young chefs on their way up. They were in Bossier earlier to train kitchen staff and returned to help during the grand opening. When we met, they were working security for Buffett's VIP concert. They had spent several 16-hour days on the property, but their energy never flagged.
    Yeager started out working in the automotive industry, but found happiness in the culinary world.
    “This is my life,” he said. “My passion is food.”
    Both were happy to be on the training team. Yeager's the youngest on the team. Virgo's the veteran.
    “You sign up for it,” Virgo explained. “I've been doing this for about five years.”
    The duo said the work is hard, and the ones who are just there for a paycheck are weeded out early on.
    “They don't last,” Virgo said. “The ones who are here tonight want to be here.”
    Dani, one of the sarong-clad poolside cocktail waitresses, is a health administration major at Texas Southern in Houston. This summer job is perfect for her, she said, because she can be home and earn extra money for college.
    The next morning, we ventured to the World Tour Buffet ($25), which is the best bang for your buck.
    “We tried to make this like Las Vegas, only better,” Chef Weisburn said when he stopped by our table to chat. “You probably won't find chicken fried steak on a Vegas buffet. We tried to include regional favorites.”
    The buffet is open from daily from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. and for weekend brunch from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. For the grand opening, the buffet opened at 10 a.m. and offered complimentary Mimosas and Bloody Marys.
    Of course, there is breakfast fare, including eggs, bacon, sausage and pancakes, but they also offer grits, smoked salmon, a huge fruit bar, salad bar, fresh seafood, barbecue, fried chicken, pastries and frozen delights.
    At night, they add crab legs, prime rib, wine and beer to the mix.
    Oh, and don't forget to ask for a ticket for a free “cold water” lobster tail if you're there on the weekend. Delicious.
    Of special mention are the baked beans and the bread pudding. The beans taste just like my mama's and the bread pudding is the best thing I've ever tasted. Enough said.
    The pool and porch bar offer a lovely place to hang out when taking a break from the slots and tables. Seating looks over the Boardwalk, which includes shopping at Banana Republic Outlet, The Gap Outlet, Carter’s and dining choices like Joe’s Crab Shack and I-Hop.
    The Boardwalk was the scene of Bossier City’s annual Independence Day Celebration and fireworks show.
    Our meal at Jimmy’s Seafood and Steak was a delightful experience in fine dining. The 75-seat room overlooks the Boardwalk and Red River, offering guests an indulgent get-away from the hustle and bustle outside.
    We ordered crab cakes, Caesar salad and the soup flight for appetizers. Other than a big lump of roux in the chowder, the first course was delicious.  
    Three of our table ordered steaks, while I opted for salmon.
    “We thought it was excellent and they had a nice wine list which we thought was reasonably priced for that type of restaurant,” said local attorney Clay Johnson his recent Jimmy’s Seafood and Steak experience. “I am a big eater and Heather [Johnson’s wife] and I shared a 16-ounce ribeye with sides and it was enough for us both. Make sure to get the gruyere au gratin potatoes. They were divine and everyone believed they were the best side item of all.”?
    The potatoes were excellent, but our barbecue macaroni and cheese was dry and the noodles were tough.
    An added benefit of our dinner was being able to watch the fireworks display from our seats.
    Again, the service was outstanding. Paul was our waiter. He came to Margaritaville from a 25-year stint at a local Italian restaurant. He’s happy to have a new job, with benefits.
    “I’m 53 and this is the first time I’ve ever had medical insurance,” he noted, pointing to his new glasses.
    Happy employees make for happy guests, and from what we observed, Margaritaville Resort and Casino is, for the moment, the happiest place in Bossier City.


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For complete information on Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Resort and Casino - Bossier City, log on to:
www.margaritavillebossiercity.com/

 

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