Summing It Up
• Take-out meals are popular with busy men and women who need to find quick ways to provide good food for their families.
According to a recent survey, more than nine of ten family- and casual-dining operations—and two-thirds of fine dining establishments—now offer takeout. This is definitely a case of supply chasing demand. In the same survey, nearly two of five adults said they bought take-out foods from full-service restaurants in the past year, and more than half said they would use curbside pick-up if offered by their favorite table-service restaurant.
These trends now even extend to clubs and resorts. Hugh Martin, Executive Chef at Chattanooga (Tenn.) Golf & Country Club and a 20-year industry veteran, says demand for takeout has increased significantly among his members.
“Takeout has become an important part of our daily operation, and we’ve adapted to respond to the particular needs of our members,” Martin says. “We’re happy to package items from our a la carte lunch and dinner menus for takeout, and we’re finding that a growing number of women are looking to us to provide family-style meals they can serve quickly and easily at home.”
Among the most popular take-out options at Chattanooga G&CC are casseroles—either as a main dish like chicken and cheese (see recipe, pg. 36), or sides starring squash or broccoli. With only a couple of hours notice, Martin will make a casserole large enough to serve from six to 24 hungry diners. Many members now bring their own dishes for him to fill. He sends along detailed reheating instructions to ensure the meals make a successful trip from club to home kitchen.
|Hugh Martin, Executive Chef, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Golf & CC|
Take-out desserts are also big movers at Chattanooga G&CC. Family-style banana puddings, English-style trifles and fruit and berry cobblers, whole carrot cakes, and pecan pies are among the most popular. Strawberry shortcake goes out in individually packaged pieces—the cake, strawberries, glaze and whipped topping, with a couple of disposable pastry bags—for members to assemble fresh at home.
Martin will also prepare picnic baskets for member families, packing spreads that range from the traditional sandwiches, fried chicken, salads and roasted corn on the cob, to more elaborate vegetarian kebabs. For a sweet surprise, he’ll tuck in a bowl of fresh melon or other seasonal fruit, cookies, and/or brownies. Most of the members pick up the mobile meals inside the Chattanooga clubhouse, but Martin will also provide curbside service upon request.
Hooking a New Market for Fish
At the family-oriented Cobblestone Creek Country Club in Victor, N.Y., a Friday night fish fry has been a long-standing tradition, which now includes somewhere between 20 and 30 take-out orders (double the usual number for other nights), says Executive Chef Brad Yearwood.
“We have a relatively small kitchen, so it’s difficult for us to do takeout most evenings,” he says. “But on Fridays, it’s easy to package up a 12- to 14-ounce piece of ale-battered haddock, along with cole slaw and French fries.”
Female members who order takeout at Cobbleston
|Turning Stone Resort and Casino added an 11,000-sq.-ft. take-out/eat-in space in “Corner Market” format|
e Creek tend to favor the club’s signature Grapevine Salad, made with organic field greens, red seedless grapes, toasted pine nuts and a duet of cheeses (crumbled Stilton blue and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano). The salad (see recipe below left) is then dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and topped with an Asiago crisp and optional grilled chicken.
Thursday is the big take-out night at Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley, Ariz., says Executive Chef Wade Simpson, as members browse the weekly 26-item pasta bar. In addition to a range of pasta shapes and types (from bow tie to penne to angel hair) and three different sauces, the bar features extensive arrays of antipasto, prepared salads and desserts. Members need only select the items they want for takeout, and the hostess will have it packaged for them.
From mid- to late-September through June (before the Arizona summer heat hits its height), pasta night at Paradise Valley also includes a few hearty chafing dish choices such as eggplant parmigiana, lasagna and baked mostaccioli that can all be packaged to go. Ditto for selections from the outdoor stir-fry station.
Beyond the Brown Bag
Because Yearwood believes “eye appeal is as important as taste,” he is particular about his take-out packaging. To suit the upscale ambience of the club, he uses sleek black containers with clear lids (“many members save and reuse them,” he notes). Department store-style carry bags with rope handles complete the classy package.
At Paradise Valley CC, one dish that travels particularly well is a slow-roasted, deboned half chicken marinated for two days in a sea salt and herb mixture. “Slow-roasting really keeps the chicken moist,” Simpson explains.
Members who stop by to pick up a steak “sandwich” to go get an eight-ounce portion of prime New York strip, served open face on garlic bread and topped with onion rings. Simpson is also certain that his thin-crusted, bar-menu pizza could be a top take-out item, so he’s in the market for just the right box to make the individual 10-to 12-inch pies easily portable.
With a prime location in the city’s downtown business district, The Madison Club in Madison, Wis. is focusing its take-out efforts on lunch.
|Brad Yearwood, Executive Chef, Cobblestone Creek CC, Victor, N.Y.|
“We have a number of members who simply can’t take the time for an hour-and-a-half, sit-down lunch at the club, but want something more than the usual fast-food offerings,” says Executive Chef Catherine McKiernan.
McKiernan has developed a special mid-day menu with eight items that can be ready within 10 minutes, none priced higher than $7.25. High-end ingredients and innovative combinations differentiate the club’s offerings from other moderately priced neighborhood establishments.
“They’re not going to find house-cured salmon with candied walnuts, baby spinach and lemon vinaigrette, or honey-maple-cured duck breast salad with orange at the local quick-service restaurant,” she notes. Panini sandwiches, wraps and a daily quiche special round out the offerings.
At Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y., takeout is a morning-to-midnight affair. Until early this year, the facility had two dining spots—an all-American diner called Crystals, and the New York-style Stone Street Deli. Now, the
two are cornerstones of an 11,000-sq. ft. eat-in/take-out concept called Corner Market, which also features four other theme restaurants offering a wide range of options, from cinnamon buns to ethnic entrees such as Asian noodle and rice dishes (including congee, a rice-based staple) to Italian specialties.
A food court configuration allows each family member to select from any of the Market’s offerings, notes Susan Rozzano, Corner Market Manager. Or they might prefer a whole pizza, an eight-piece box or bucket of fried chicken, or ribs flavored with a signature dry rub called “Pigsie Dust” and sauce called “Southern Bull.”
And even though the service might be quick, Turning Stone maintains its upscale style. “The serving containers are way above fast-food quality,” Rozzano says. “Even the knives and forks look like real silver.”