The new owners of the private Oglesby, Ill., property, who also own Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club in La Salle, Ill., are expanding the club’s restaurant service to the public for lunch.
The sale of the historic Deer Park Country Club in Oglesby, Ill., to the owners of Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club in La Salle, Ill., was recently finalized, the Ottawa, Ill.-based Times reported.
Senica’s owner-president, Jeff Senica, said that he and his family, who have operated Oak Ridge since 1992, were excited about taking over the property, which sits immediately north of Matthiessen State Park outside Oglesby, the Times reported.
The club restaurant, once only available to private members, is now open for lunch with salads, soup and sandwiches to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Jeff Patton and Culie Hawthorne, chefs who have both have worked the kitchen at Senica’s Oak Ridge Country Club, are in charge of preparing the food in the Deer Park clubhouse, the Times reported.
The club’s lunch menu currently features an abbreviated selection of homemade soup, salads, sandwiches and daily specials, Patton said. Many more selections will be added, including dinner hours and family-oriented events, when the course opens for the 2016 golfing season. The restaurant, with a panoramic views of the golf course, will be closed during the months of January and February, the Times reported.
Currently the menu includes a massive Southwest chipotle salad, which includes seasoned ground beef or chicken, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shredded cheese, black beans, corn and crispy tortillas complimented with Southwest Chipotle dressing. There is also hearty sandwiches choices including hand-pounded and battered pork tenderloins, Italian seasoned beef with provolone cheese on a hoagie roll served with au jus, an 8-ounce lean ground beef burger with cheese and bacon and “The Birdie”, an 8-ounce boneless, grilled or fried chicken breast topped with bacon and cheese. All of the sandwiches are made-to-order with chips or fries, the Times reported.
Patton, who has cooked at the Spring Valley Boat Club in Granville, Ill., Mona’s Restaurant in Toluca and was once featured on “Good Morning America,” told The Times his meals at the clubhouse will be served with the presentation in mind.
“I was told in culinary school that people eat 80 percent of their meals with their eyes, so presentation is very important to me when preparing an order,” Patton explained to The Times. “That first impression sets the tone for the whole meal. And, if a customer is served mediocre soup or salad, it will affect their appreciation for their entree.”
In the kitchen, Patton said he uses a formidable 1952 cast iron skillet given to him by his father. “Believe me when I say it is well-seasoned and is great to use on a stove,” he laughed.
Banquet/Dining Room Manager Courtney Camp said that the business is already booking holiday parties, weddings, receptions and other events, the Times reported.
“We are also working out details for dining and golfing packages to take full advantage of our close proximity to Starved Rock and Matthiessen parks and the Oak Ridge golf course,” Camp said. The facility can seat 120 in the dining room and has been well-known in the area as a prime location for outdoors weddings and receptions, the Times reported.