Friday, January 10, 2014

10 Great Places to Eat and Drink Golf in the U.S.

Gigantic onion rings, roasted garlic French fries and a Chicago Dog are just a few of the sumptuous foods offered at my favorite 19th holes and golf themed restaurants. 

Let's face it, after a long day on the course accentuated by a shank or two, there's nothing like enjoying some comfort food with your friends in a golf-friendly pub or restaurant, right?

Here are 10 places where everybody talks golf, the beer is cold and the menus are designed for hungry golfers:

1. NONA BLUE (Orlando, FL)--Part owner Graeme McDowell’s pub/restaurant, with items like Gmac’s Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese, Mama’s Double Stacked Meatloaf and Traditional English Fish and Chips, is the ultimate post round hangout. Located just outside the gates of Lake Nona Golf Club, where McDowell has a home, Nona Blue is teeming with rich, dark wood appointments and furniture. With just a few golf photos and memorabilia, it feels more like a high-end tavern/restaurant than a 19th hole bar. 

2. McKEE'S PUB at Bandon Dunes Resort (Bandon Dunes, Oregon--After a day of oceanside, links style golf at one of the resort's magnificent courses, McKee's Pub is a great place to enhance the Scottish theme to your day. Smartly appointed with dark wood furniture, fireplaces and golf art, this pub is warm and friendly with a menu dotted with delicacies like Braised Lamb Stew, Roast Chicken Pie and its signature dish, Grandma's Meatloaf, which is served with pan gravy, smashed potatoes and green beans.

3. MURRAY BROS. CADDYSHACK (St. Augustine, FL)--Set in World Golf Village, this whimsical restaurant was created by actor comedian Bill Murray and his five brothers. Designed to look and feel like a country club gone bonkers, Murray Bros. Caddyshack features the Bunker Bar with two, 150-inch quad television screens plus additional TVs and lots of memorabilia from the popular movie as well as wacky golf related d├ęcor. When it’s time to order, you can choose from a menu that includes the Seasoned Italian Beef sandwich with giardiniera peppers, sport peppers and au jus for dipping, the Double Bogey Cheeseburger, a 2/3 pound ground chuck burger topped with your choice of cheese and the Chicago Dog, a Windy City classic with a beef hot dog on a poppy seed roll with sweet green relish, red onion, tomato, yellow mustard, sport peppers, pickle spears and a sprinkle of celery salt.

4. DONALD ROSS GRILL at Pinehurst Resort (Pinehurst, NC)--Overlooking the world’s largest putting green and Putterboy statue, it’s ideally situated in the clubhouse complex.  Following my favorite lunch at the Donald Ross Grill, a Maniac Hill Club Sandwich with hickory smoked bacon and Beefsteak tomatoes and a large, unsweetened ice tea (the locals love the sweetened, but it’s way too sugary) followed by a piece of Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie, I exit through the front door, take a right to walk through a hallway dotted with historic photos and proceed to gaze at the Payne Stewart statue just outside the side door by the pro shop. We're talking golf nirvana, my friends.

5. GREG NORMAN'S AUSTRALIAN GRILLE (Myrtle Beach, SC)--The Great White Shark’s upscale restaurant features wood grilled steaks and an exceptional wine list. Billing itself as "the upper crust of down under dining", Greg Norman's Australian Grille is not the place you'll be going if you lost wagering on the golf course. Entrees range in price from $24 to $39 at this high-end, waterfront restaurant. Superbly prepared meat, poultry and fish selections make this one of Mrytle Beach's best restaurants. How about a pan-seared New York Striploin topped with hearty portabella whiskey cream sauce with au gratin potatoes? If you have a few extra bucks or just want to spurge in Myrtle Beach, this is the place to do it.

6. BRITISH OPEN PUB (Hilton Head Island, SC--If you don't have the money or inclination to make the trip across the pond, you can soak up some serious British ambiance at the British Open Pub on Hilton Head (there's also a location in nearby Bluffton). From Scotch Eggs and Shepherd's pine to Bangers and Mash and Steak and Mushroom Pie, the menu is a great one. You can top it off with Homemade Chocolate Bread Pudding and Old English Deep Dish Apple Pie. The comfortable dining room has over-size booths, golf memorabilia and flat screen televisions.

7. MR. B's LOUNGE at Pinecrest Inn Resort (Pinehurst, NC-- Set just off the lobby at the venerable Pine Crest Inn, Mr. B's Lounge, once owned by golf architect Donald Ross, is one of America's great 19th holes. Brimming with vintage golf photos, paintings, pin flags and other memorabilia, this place puts you in celebratory mood regardless if you played well or crashed and burned on one of the area's more than 40 golf courses. Don't miss the infamous chipping hole in front of the fireplace during cocktail hour. It's a great place to redeem yourself with a gallery watching. The pub fare offered is reliable with burgers, wings and grouper bites on the menu.

8. PHIL's GRILL at Grayhawk Golf Club (Scottsdale, AZ--If you're a "Philly Mick" fan, you'll love Phil's Grill. Dotted with memorabilia from Mickelson's junior golf days to his major championships, it has an elegant ambiance with a hardwood bar and leather couches. Menu highlights include the Navajo  Corn Chowder, Crispy Coconut Shrimp and Soft Shell Tortilla Tacos.

9. TILTED KILT PUB & EATERY--Ya gotta love this concept. Servers in this Celtic themed pub are voluptuous, attractive young ladies clad in mini-kilts and plaid bras. Tilted Kilt's boast is "A cold beer never looked so good." The menu includes items like Irish Nachos, Roasted Garlic Fries, Classic Fish & Chips and Olde Dubin Irish Stew. If you can take your eyes off the beautiful ladies (a very difficult task, I might add) there are thirty-five 50 inch flat screen televisions to watch golf tournaments and other sports events. There are 70 locations in 22 states with more pubs in the development stage.

10. SAM SNEAD'S TAVERN--Specializing in oak grilled meats, fish and poultry and brimming with Sam Snead’s golf memorabilia and photos, this concept restaurant has 11 locations around the country. My favorite lunch items include the Oak Grilled Steak and Blue Cheese appetizer and Fresh Grouper Sandwich.  I'm a huge Slammin' Sammy fan so I never get tired of studying the various Snead photos and artifacts on display at Sam Snead's Tavern.

Other favorites include: MacAllisters Grill & Tavern in Sarasota, Florida, High Velocity Sports Bar at TPC San Antonio at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa and Sun Valley Clubhouse bar and veranda at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho.

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