Editor’s note: Socalgolfblog.com is now providing blog content for Maderas Golf Club. You can find this post on the blog at their site, www.maderasgolf.com.
Since it opened somewhat quietly last May in the remodeled Terminal Two of the San Diego International Airport, the PGA Tour Grill, the PGA Tour’s new airport restaurant concept, has gone from hidden gem to overnight success.
The grill has quickly become a hit with traveling golfers, according to officials at concept developer HMS Host and at the PGA Tour.
“The early returns have been very encouraging,” says Tim Hawes, Senior Vice President of Global Product Licensing for the PGA Tour. “We feel like we’ve gotten a hole-in-one.”
Much like following up on a tip for a great golf course to play, Maderas Golf Club accepted an invitation to lunch at the grill in September to experience the concept that the Tour has aggressive growth plans for over the next five years.
You can now add us to the ranks of the impressed.
Pictures of the grill, while beautiful, don’t fully relate the impressiveness of the space, which is much more upscale restaurant than traditional airport lounge.
The stacked stone exterior, the high ceilings, the sheer size of the space and the massive murals of Torrey Pines all make for a great first impression – and that’s before you even start watching golf on the grill’s myriad of TVs.
Traveling golfers to and from Maderas will want to allow for an extra hour or so before flying to soak in the airport golf nirvana the PGA has created to promote the game and fill what it saw as a need in airport dining: healthy menu items.
Promoted by the motto of “Eat Smart. Play Harder,” the PGA Tour Grill has loaded its lunch and breakfast menus with nutritious and travel-friendly items. (You’ll find the breakfast and lunch menus for the grill at the bottom of this post.)
After considering the grill’s fine selection of salads and flatbreads, we settled on sampling the California beef burger (one of the most popular menu items, we’re told) and the hickory plank salmon.
Both we’re quite good, and we deemed them ideal pre-flight meals. The burger is made from locally raised beef and its toppings include Tillamook Cheddar, crispy onions, garlic aioli and a bacon option, which of course Maderas General Manager Bill O’Brien took.
Of his burger, O’Brien said, “I found the portion to be just right; not too heavy before a flight. And the flavor was just delicious.”
My salmon entrée, which did indeed arrive on a little wood plank, was moist and flavorful. And the grill asparagus and roasted potatoes proved a perfect pairing.
We’re told that on the lunch menu the California beef burger and the wood-grilled chicken and goat cheese sandwich are the most popular items. For breakfast, it’s the classic eggs and the steak and eggs.
The PGA Tour Grill debuted in San Diego, but it has quickly been joined by Honolulu, Las Vegas and Boston. The Tour is targeting Tour stops and golf vacation hot spots for its initial 25-restaurant rollout. San Diego quite obviously qualifies on both counts.
Traveling golfers can increasingly expect to see these popping up as they travel for business or pleasure, especially in California. The Tour has expressed a desire to see a PGA Tour Grill in every hub in Southern California.
We know that the 12,000 or so traveling guests Maderas hosts each year will enjoy the experience as will those who discovering these abroad, possibly traveling to some of the 200 courses in the Troon Golf network, such as Kapalua in Maui and The Grove in London. Both locales have direct flights from San Diego.
Maderas Golf Club thanks Joe Niknam and Rick Juaert of HMS Host for hosting us and treating us like Tour stars.
Editor’s note 2: My previous posts about PGA Tour Grill have been searched regularly and a few of you have additionally searched for the menus. We now provide them here.