The Brielle, N.J. club hosts at least 10 wine events annually, with many in the club’s upscale dining room or under the stars, weather permitting. For one magical event, however, staff worked together to deep-clean the maintenance barn and welcome members for something unique.
(As featured in C+RB’s 14th Annual Ideas Issue, June 2020.)
Since it was built almost three years ago, the greens barn at Manasquan River Golf Club (MRGC), in Brielle, N.J., has been home to tractors, mowers and other maintenance equipment. But for one magical night in 2019, it became so much more.
Manasquan River hosts at least 10 wine events annually. More than half are dinners that are usually held in the club’s upscale dining room. Occasionally, when weather permits, the club will host one under the stars, which always wows the members.
“We were trying to think of a setting that would be just as exciting, but also new and different,” says Ryan Brennan, CCM, General Manager of Clubhouse Operations. “Someone suggested renting a barn off-property, but then Michael Zusack, our [GM/COO], suggested our greens barn.”
Brennan and the club’s Executive Chef, Maurice Maglione, CEC, CCA, immediately began planning just how they might pull off the idea. The barn, which measures 32 feet by 120 feet, isn’t located too far from the clubhouse, but it would need to be deepcleaned. A finishing kitchen and sanitation space would also need to be built.
A few days ahead of the event, the entire barn was emptied of equipment and the work began. “Team members from every department helped us,” says Brennan. “We power-washed the floors, built out the kitchen, strung up lights, set up tables and completely transformed the space.” After a florist added some finishing touches, no one would have known that just days prior, the space was filled with groundskeeping equipment.
Upon arriving at the dinner, members were greeted with a glass of Crémant de Bourgogne sparkling wine and encouraged to mingle. Winery co-owner Kinou Cazes-Hachemian was on site to speak about each of the wines that were perfectly paired with dishes prepared by Maglione and his crew. The menu included a homemade gnocchi and a tomahawk steak.
“The execution was flawless,” says Maglione, whose background is in off-site catering. “We did a lot of sous vide cooking to make sure food temperatures were consistent. What’s even more impressive is that while we were doing this dinner, we were also doing 125 in a la carte service [in the club’s dining rooms] and another party for 40 [elsewhere on the property].”
Using the barn instead of the clubhouse also reinforced how the MRGC staff could pull together for special efforts—which proved especially useful during the club’s closure at the start of 2020 during the coronavirus outbreak, when it was still able to host three virtual wine dinners and a virtual wine tasting for its members.
The Goal: Manasquan River Golf Club wanted a new atmosphere for its Chateau Lynch-Bages wine dinner.
The Plan: GM/COO Michael Zusack suggested turning the club’s course maintenance equipment barn into an event space, complete with a satellite kitchen and farmhouse tables.
The Payoff: Members were blown away by the event and the staff learned that, with enough teamwork, an upscale event can be executed anywhere.