Thursday, January 6, 2022

Pink Cadillac Diner undergoing remodel after acquisition by Bagel Time owner

Pink Cadillac Diner (3801 Atlantic Avenue) is currently undergoing a full interior remodel after being purchased by Bagel Time Cafe owner Angelo Bilios. A revamped menu is also in the works ahead of a planned Easter Weekend opening.


And, yes - the 1950’s/Doo Wop theme will remain intact!


Bilios, whose Bagel Time brand has expanded to include three area locations, including the flagship cafe in Wildwood (4600 Atlantic Avenue), co-owned the Pink Cadillac with two partners from 2008-2012.


“I’ve always kept a piece of my heart for that place,” Bilios said of the Pink Cadillac. “I basically got my start in Wildwood there, I learned so much there before Bagel Time took off. I’ve often thought, if it ever became available, it would be hard not to run to it.”


That opportunity came his way last summer, when he was contacted by the previous owner. The deal was finalized just a few weeks ago.


“Covid has created so many challenges [for restaurant owners]. For some, not being able to find help and not knowing when they may be shut down or forced to change the way they operate is just too much,” Bilios explained. “I think the previous owner was just ready to get out.


“We were hoping to seal the deal by October, but it took a little longer. So, some of the things we want to do will have to wait a little longer.”


That includes a full exterior renovation, as well. 


“The plan as of now is to redo the interior this winter,” he said. “Keeping it Doo Wop, with a little spin. Basically, putting my touch to it. Next year, we hope to completely renovate the exterior with a full stainless steel look, that shiny classic diner look. It’ll be a real standout.”


“Menu-wise, we’ll be serving diner fare with a modern twist. Scratch kitchen, all kinds of flavors. The Pink Cadillac will continue to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.”


These changes will mark the latest chapter for one of the Wildwoods’ longest continually-operated diners. It originally opened and existed for decades as the Atlantic Diner before morphing into Big Ernie’s Fabulous ‘50’s Diner. That theme was parlayed into the Pink Cadillac during the “Neo Doo Wop” movement of the early 2000’s.


Bilios is aiming for an Easter Weekend grand opening (April 15-17), with an invitation-only soft opening a week or so prior. Stay tuned for an official announcement.


Along with his wife, Anna, Bilios founded Bagel Time in 2009. In a little over a decade since, the brand has expanded to include three locations, including Wildwood Crest (5501 at Aqua Beach Hotel) and Cape May (727 Beach Avenue).


All three Bagel Time cafes are operated by members of the Bilios family, which boasts nearly 40 years of experience in the restaurant business.


“Family is at the heart of everything we do,” Bilios explained. “That’s how we’ve built our business with Bagel Time and that will continue with everything we’re doing at the Pink Cadillac.”


Last winter, Bilios made some big changes to the ever-popular Wildwood location, reworking the counter area and modifying the ordering/serving process to increase efficiency. 


“We eliminated our waitress service in favor of a system where customers would order at the register, seat themselves and have their food brought to them,” he explained. 


“When covid hit, it really opened our eyes. You have to change with the times, and it opened our eyes to ways we could make our business more efficient for our customers. We feel that the changes made a big difference, improving wait times and just the overall customer experience.”


Plans for 2022 include the addition of Hip Whip by Bagel Time Cafe, a new series of healthy options including smoothies and acai bowls that were introduced at the Cape May location over the past two seasons. We’ll have more info on this in the coming weeks.


Bagel Time’s Wildwood location typically opens for weekends beginning in early February, coinciding with the annual start of the Wildwoods Convention Center’s events calendar. However, Bilios is holding back on an official reopening date at this time, pending the development of the omicron surge.


For updates and additional info, follow Bagel Time Cafe on Facebook and Instagram.

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