By POA staff
What will it be tonight? The breezy open-air patio eatery where you can watch the big SEC game over fish tacos and burgers? Or a nicer, elevated indoor dining experience with flowers, a white tablecloth, and a curated wine list?
Come Wednesday, Sept. 22, you can have either in a single location: the Clubhouse.
That’s when the Clubhouse unveils its new look built on new dual dining scenarios where patrons can either go casual on the Veranda and the Black Bear Pub; or opt for an elevated dining experience in the Dining Room where wait staff, sporting black shirts and bistro aprons by night, will recommend wine pairings with such chef specials as the saku tuna crisp or filet mignon.
Newly appointed food and beverage manager Jonathan Prince explained that the Clubhouse changes were initiated because of the feedback from patrons. Jonathan and his team, including Chef David Bakitas, this week have coordinated the training, menu revisions and assorted logistics tied to a range of changes.
“I can’t tell you how many times folks in the community have said, ‘Can we get tablecloths in the back dining area,’ ” Jonathan says. “At the same time, they still want to be able to have maybe a group of eight out on the Veranda for something more casual. With our new changes, we can let folks choose the ambiance they want – and all in one place.”
Although the Dining Room, the Black Bear Pub and the Veranda are open for service today through Sunday and again on Tuesday, the new dining experience and updated menu will not go into effect until Wednesday.
While the menu will continue to include such long-time favorites as the Cuban sandwich and sweet and sour shrimp, the Clubhouse will feature three to four new weekly specials. For the kickoff week, patrons can sample the filet mignon, saki tuna crisp, a power salad with kale and quinoa, or a pan-roasted halibut. Often tied to seasonal themes, the specials will change regularly. At a future date, the Clubhouse will expand selections to include both lunch and dinner-specific specials.
Another inspiring rethink is in the revised cocktail menu, which features the Cello Collins, a tangy tweak of the Tom Collins using Villa Massa limoncello; and a honey-fied revamp of the classic Brown Derby cocktail made from bourbon, grapefruit juice and honey simple syrup.
The Pub, which had its floors repaired this week, and the Veranda will continue to operate similarly to how they currently function through the day and into the evening – as a welcoming gathering place that will continue to host events such as the upcoming show by musician Bill Pound at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17.
The most dramatic changes are happening in the dining room, which will offer dishes from the same menu presented elsewhere in the Clubhouse. However, the Dining Room, unlike the Pub and Veranda, will close at 3 p.m., with its last lunchtime seating at 2 p.m.
When the Dining Room reopens to patrons at 5 p.m., it will have a more formal ambiance – more date night than game night – with white tablecloths, candles and flowers on each table and an age limit to those who are 14 years old and up. The recently retrained wait staff dedicated solely to the dining room will trade in their royal blue tops for black shirts and bistro aprons as they recommend the ideal beer or wine pairing for specific food selections. Ultimately, the dual experience will give the community the option of sampling Chef David’s dishes in the setting that makes sense for them.
“These changes, like the elevated dining experience, add another dynamic,” says Jonathan. “In the end, no matter where someone in the Clubhouse decides to dine, we want people to be able to come with their friends, eat some delicious food and have a few rounds served by an attentive, friendly staff.”
Clubhouse dining is available 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday, with last reservations at 6 p.m.; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with last reservations at 8 p.m.; and 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, with last reservations at 2:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Reservations for the Pub and Veranda can be made by calling (706) 268-1253 or through the Open Table app that appears when logging onto the Big Canoe POA website. As always, staff will do its best to accommodate walk-ins. For now, reservations for dinner in the Dining Room are available only by calling (706) 268-1253.
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