Both Edgewood CC and Berry Hills CC participated in Charleston, W.Va.’s Restaurant Week. Both private facilities prepared $35 menus. Each table at Berry Hills received membership information and a $25 round of golf.
This year, 26 establishments participated in Charleston, W. Va.’s sixth annual Restaurant Week, held January 28 – February 2. And for the first time, two private facilities—Edgewood Country Club and Berry Hills Country Club—were included.
After event organizers approached Edgewood CC about participating in Restaurant Week, the property’s Food, Service, and Entertainment Committee made the decision to be a part of it.
“Our goal was to represent Charleston in a way that we feel some people don’t get to see at times,” says General Manager Shane Honaker.
The Berry Hills membership was equally receptive to participating. “It was a good opportunity to showcase the club and offer something different to members of the public who don’t often have the chance to go to a country club,” says General Manager Robert Gray.
Participating restaurants offered three-course meals at $25 and $35 price points, and both private facilities prepared $35 menus. (See the Restaurant Week menus below)
Planning for Restaurant Week, Honaker says, was like planning for any other club event. “We had to work out the details and timing, and we had to plan our menu,” he says. “We wanted to provide a level of service and quality that people expect.”
Restaurant Week guests were greeted by a host and served in the Edgewood banquet facility. Edgewood members, who dined in the formal dining room or the grill, had the option of still coming to the club and ordering a la carte or from the Restaurant Week menu. Some of them also ate in the banquet facility, to get the full Restaurant Week experience.
“My goal was not to disrupt our day-to-day operations,” says Executive Chef Dennis Harris. “I had no idea what the reception or turnout would be. We had to devise a plan to operate the club for our normal members, as well as function as a free-standing restaurant for a week.”
Restaurant Week guests had to make reservations, and Edgewood had a 6 p.m. seating for 60 people and an 8 p.m. seating for 40 people each night. The staff also set up a table chart for each seating.
At Berry Hills, Gray says, 97 percent of the guests made reservations, and the remaining 3 percent were walk-ins.
While Berry Hills’ kitchen staff members are used to working special events, notes Executive Chef Heath Ax, Restaurant Week gave them “the experience of a lifetime, [through the] opportunity to be part of a high-intensity kitchen.”
The key to success, Ax adds, was to “design a menu that was practical enough so we could produce it without burying ourselves, and simplified enough so the staff could handle it with a quick response,” he says.
Everyone who dined at Berry Hills during Restaurant Week ordered from the event menu. The offerings included a choice of two salads, three entrees and three desserts.“We tried to serve dishes that would showcase local food, offer good portions and quality, and hit home in West Virginia while being easy on the budget,” says Ax.
At Edgewood CC, diners could choose between two appetizers, entrees and desserts. “We went with menu items that are traditional club favorites and have a history at the property,” says Honaker.
Edgewood had 385 to 400 Restaurant Week guests alone, Honaker estimates. And Berry Hills, which hoped to have 240 guests, ended up serving more than 350 people, Gray says—about 95 percent of whom were non-members.
Each table at Berry Hills received membership information and a $25 round of golf. The membership director was also on site each night to answer questions and mingle with guests.
“Even if we don’t get new members from it, we’ll get parties and meetings out of it,” says Gray. “It’s going to be an annual event for us now. We got a tremendous number of positive comments about the club, the food, and the experience here. Given that feedback, we’ll do it again and again.”
Adds Honaker: “It was a win-win for our club, community, and the event organizers. The club industry has to look at different ways to generate interest in its facilities. Everything we do with the public is an opportunity to sow a seed.”