An Epic task
By Jane Beathard
Plain City resident Steve Kopec will put years of experience gained from managing the Dutch Kitchen on U.S. Route 42 to work as he oversees operations of the Epic Buffet in the new Hollywood Columbus Casino at the intersection of West Broad Street and Georgesville Road.
Kopec applied online for the buffet supervisor’s job, survived the interview process and landed the position. He’s one of about 2,000 people — mostly central Ohio residents — who will be at work when the casino opens on Columbus Day, Oct. 8.
The Epic Buffet will seat about 300 with tables for about another 100 in an adjoining private dining room. It was one of three casino restaurants displayed during this past Monday’s media preview.
Hollywood Columbus General Manager Ameet Patel and chief operating officer Marty Neumann led the tour for about two dozen reporters and photographers. They dodged equipment, slot technicians and construction workers to get a glimpse of what will be Ohio’s newest and biggest gambling mecca.
Patel emphasized Hollywood Columbus will offer entertainment for both gamblers and non-gamblers. High on the list of attractions will be the Epic Buffet, the upscale Final Cut Steakhouse that seats 150, the 90-seat Take 2 Grill and the centerpiece o.h. Sports Lounge that will accommodate 350. An Event Center on the casino’s north side will host as many as 700 for receptions and conferences.
As with other Penn National Gaming facilities, guests “will be transported to the Golden Age of Hollywood…surrounded by art-deco inspired architecture and cutting-edge video technology,” according to a company fact sheet.
Display cases of authentic movie costumes and props in the steakhouse will be interactive. Guests with iPads and smartphones will learn the history of items featured, along with associated movie trivia.
Penn National is spending $400 million to develop the former Delphi auto plant site into a 200,000 square foot casino. Focus is on hiring local residents and being a good community neighbor, Patel said.
On Monday, technicians were busy installing 3,000 slot machines, mostly 1-cent plays. Penny machines are a growing trend in the gaming industry, Neumann said.
Blackjack, roulette and craps tables were also going in, along with 30 tables headed to an expansive poker room. A high-roller area will feature eight table games ($100 minimum) and 40 slot machines with $5 to $100 plays. Although some reporters seemed skeptical, Patel said he expects to see high rollers come through the casino’s doors.
Those doors, along with an entryway featuring water cascades and a video wall, will create a dazzling first impression for the 10,000 customers that are expected to visit daily.
“We’re looking for a ‘wow’ factor,” Patel said.
On Oct. 3, Hollywood Columbus will host a demo day with all slot machines, table games and restaurants fully operational. Patel said casino proceeds that day will benefit west Columbus charities.