On Tuesday night, the Fort Walton Beach City Council approved (5-2) the opening of a new restaurant at the Fort Walton Beach Golf Course.
- Tentatively, the restaurant will be called The Clubhouse Grill.
The Fort Walton Beach Golf Club restaurant, Two Trees, has been managed by Northwest Florida Facilities Management since May 2001 through a lease agreement.
- The existing lease agreement expires on March 31, 2022 with no remaining extension options.
On August 24, 2021, the Purchasing Division issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Golf Course Restaurant Services/Lease. Bay Enterprises of NW Florida was the only one who sent in a proposal.
Here’s what Bay Enterprises proposes as part of this lease agreement:
- To continue to provide breakfast and lunch.
- To create a sports bar atmosphere and develop services to cater to the golfers of the FWB Golf Club.
- To upgrade the existing facilities to include new flooring, tables/chairs, televisions for sporting events and outdoor family activities, such as fire pits and game areas.
- To provide non-stop beverage cart service, options to pre-order food/drinks for pickup or delivery for golfers and discounts on food and drinks for players.
- To provide space for meetings, banquets, and wedding/wedding receptions.
Bay Enterprises has also inquired about the leasing of the old Edwin Watts facility to allow for the expansion of their services.
James Bay, the current owner of Bay Enterprises of NW FLA, Inc., also owns Emerald Coast Social Sports and Emerald Coast Shuttle Bus. He is also no stranger to the restaurant industry.
- He owned L.J. Schooners from 1990-1992, when he sold the business.
- He assisted in the opening, staff selection, and bar manager for Leubo’s of Niceville from 1993-1994.
- He helped open Lucky Snappers from 1994-1995 and was the general manager for Johnny Ray’s BBQ in Crestview from 1995-1996.
“We understand that a much-needed change is required to create a positive experience for the golfers and area residents at the City of Fort Walton Beach Golf Course,” said James Bay of Bay Enterprises. “The restaurant is there to first and foremost serve the customers that are using the facility and there are several changes or opportunities that we will create to bring golfers back into the restaurant.”
According to Bay, there will be mobile ordering stations that will be set up on the holes that lead to the restaurant. QScan menu stickers will be in golf carts so golfers can order from their mobile phones. Beverage and food carts will also run throughout the day.
“We want golf members and guests to feel like they are a priority,” said Bay. “We also feel that the restaurant should be a destination place for people seeking great food with a great atmosphere that they would want to bring their family and continue to come back. We feel that establishing a dinner several nights of the week would give the area locals a nearby alternative instead of having to travel to other parts of the county.”
Bay also believes that the Golf Course is a good place to host banquets, private parties, and weddings. But that there have been missed opportunities due to the setup and decor.
“We plan on proposing some decor and outdoor landscape ideas to improve and entice potential customers to seek out the golf course for these memorable events,” he said. “The veranda and outdoor area need some improvements. Improvements like paver pads with gas-fed fire pits and room for entertainment area and or a wedding gazebo. Our ultimate goal is to make this location a place where people want to come and enjoy their evening.“
Let’s talk food
The menu is slated to be more of an American grill. Breakfast will be fast and economical, with some pre-made breakfast sandwiches for the golfers on-the-go. Bay says that they will also look at adding dinner to the menu and open several nights towards the end of the week and into the weekend.
Planned menu prices:
- Breakfast: Price range of $4.99 to $9.99
- Lunch: Price range of $5.99 to $14.99
- Dinner: Price range of $9.99 to $19.99
- Desserts: Price range of $2.99 to $5.99
Bay says that he plans to have a smooth transition with minimal downtime through the busy spring months, with slight changes to the menu and atmosphere.
“We plan to have a major focus on being put into the old Edwin Watts space to get that usable,” he said. “We plan to get service carts up-and-running and install course signage and install methods to target the golfers and guests.”
In the winter of 2022-2023, that’s when some major improvements are planned for the bar, dining area, and veranda. He says that the goal is to be fully operational with all improvements 100% complete by Spring 2023.
Here’s a look at the proposed improvements:
- Bar Area: Update, improve and make it more appealing for golfers coming in from the course.
- Gill/Dining Area: Update lightly and separate area from the bar. Arrange in a way that it feels cozy and not a cold large room.
- Banquet Area (partition area of the dining room): Update decor with keeping the option to open and close off. We will also box around the dividers to help conceal and improve the space.
As for the old Edwin Watts space, Bay says that they are open to discussions and currently looking at several options.
- One option is to make the room into large banquet room for special events, meetings, private parties, and weddings.
An annual lease amount of $30,616 was submitted by Bay Enterprises of NW Florida, Inc. at a rate of $2,551.33 per month for the operation of the restaurant and veranda area at the FWB Golf Club.