Welcome to Provenza restaurant and event center at Ventnor Plaza shopping center.


VENTNOR – A long vacated section of Ventnor Plaza shopping center opened Thursday as a new restaurant and event center. Provenza is the first all new restaurant at the Plaza, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation by shopping center developer Mark Greco of Ventnor.

The operators of Provenza, Manager Juan Garcia, Chef DeLeon (Diego Maya), and DJ Sammy, had the best business plan, Greco said.

“We reached out to a lot of people, and these were the right guys,” Greco said during a welcome reception for family and friends of the operators.

From left, DJ Sammy, Juan Garcia and Chef Diego Maya of Provenza, with Mayor Lance Landbraf, Kathy Styles-Landgraf and Ventnor Business Association President Brenda Dowd.

The two-story end unit at the Plaza that once housed a Chinese restaurant and before that a movie theater, includes a 98-seat restaurant, coffee shop and 120-seat banquet hall on the first floor. The banquet space on the second floor will accommodate 250 people when the second phase is completed, Chef Diego Maya said.

There are also two outside seating spaces, one on each floor, and ample parking. The venue, which is BYOB, will employ 50-60 people, Mayor Lance Landgraf said.

Maya, a 2010 graduate of the Academy of Culinary Arts who previously worked at Borgata and Water Club, said the cuisine is American with a Latin touch. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, and at dinner time, the restaurant is turned into a steak house with an open kitchen.

Ventnor Plaza developer Mark Greco chats with friends during the soft opening of Provenza.

Greco said he has 10 new tenants lined up for openings in the coming weeks and months.

“I’m trying to bring in a lot of different uses,” he said, listing businesses that will open soon.

The Little Sprouts daycare center closer to Acme has expanded its space, and Ivy Nail salon will have its final inspection July 12. Pickle Juice will open a five court pickleball center and juice bar at the other end of the property, and the developer is currently “pounding stakes” for two pad sites that will be occupied by Starbucks and Greens and Grains, he said.

Sitework to elevate the perimeter of the mall parking lot is ongoing and will ensure the lot is no longer underwater during storm events.

“We hope to get the eastern (Atlantic City) side completed by the end of July, and then we will start at the other end and work our way back to the Acme.

Greco said he has worked to alleviate concerns of residents whose properties back up to Little Rock Avenue, the plaza’s western border. He obtained concessions from the city to turn the city-owned street into a one-way street instead of a two-way street. The traffic for customers shopping at the mall will flow from the traffic light-controlled intersection at Wellington Avenue to the driveway located a half-block in. Truck traffic will be diverted to the rear of the mall.

Maria Gatta of Red Room cafe, Brenda Dowd and Kathy Styles-Landgraf.

Maria Gatta, owner of Red Room Café on Dorset Avenue, said it’s good for the city to have a new venue where people can go for larger parties and events.

“It’s something we don’t have in Ventnor and the more people who visit Ventnor the better it will be for all of our businesses,” she said.

Ventnor Business Association President Brenda Dowd and owner of Makt Arts, wearing her signature summer white painter’s overalls, called Wellington Avenue and the Plaza “the gateway to Ventnor City.”

“Mark is turning this mall into the Million Dollar Mile,” she said.

What makes the location great for residents and summer visitors is the ample parking available at the Plaza. Dowd believes that amenity alone will bring in people from Mainland areas and other shore towns.

Landgraf stood in front of Provenza to cut the ribbon.


“This is a great new use for this facility and we are glad to get it opened,” Landgraf said, thanking the operators for bringing a new restaurant to the resort.

The city approved a redevelopment plan for the Plaza a few years ago and has entertained a second redevelopment site next to it. Landgraf said the city is hoping a storage facility would open there.

Garcia thanked his “brothers from another mother” for their hard work getting the restaurant opened.

He said there is an area in Northern Italy and south of France called Provenza, which means providence, and is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Medellin, Columbia, the city where the team originated.

“When you think about dinner, when you think about breakfast, and don’t have to worry about parking, think of Provenza,” he told the crowd gathered in front of the distinctively painted black and white façade.

“We are going to try as hard as we can to keep our promise to give the best of what we know how to do well – cooking, entertainment and front-of-the-house,” he said. “We are eager to provide you with the best American Latin food around.”

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Categories: Ventnor

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.