By David Gignilliat | Photos by Amanda Causey Baity
It’s a place that’s launched a thousand chips. And putts. And wonderful meals, for that matter. The Tidewater Grill, one of Prince William’s newest dining hot spots, overlooks the fairway on the 18th hole at the Potomac Shores Golf Club, with the scenic Potomac River and Powell’s Creek just a tee shot away.
In the two years since its opening in May 2014, the grill has become a community and county destination, a “perfect place to escape the city without leaving the city,” as the venue’s website suggests.
“It’s a space you’d like to spend your downtime away from the hustle and bustle of [Interstate] 95 and Route 1,” said Patrick Boucher, director of club operations at Potomac Shores Golf Club.
The restaurant has already cultivated steady regular business, well beyond just the traditional after-round golf traffic.
“The majority of the clientele at the Tidewater Grill are actually not golfers. We obviously capture a lot of the golfing population when they come into play, but in the evenings, it’s a lot of homeowners in Potomac Shores and other local communities that come in,” said Boucher.
The golf course and clubhouse, which includes the Tidewater Grill, is the centerpiece of the Potomac Shores community, a master-planned resort living model developed by SunCal. The 8,000-square-foot clubhouse mimics a Virginia Tidewaterstyle estate. The community covers nearly 2,000 acres and features nearly two miles of shoreline along the Potomac River and Powell’s Creek with over 1,000 acres of preserved hardwood forests and streams and traditional Virginia Tidewater architectural home designs. Long-term plans also include a waterfront hotel and a town-center style dining, lifestyle and shopping experience.
A Fresh and Local Approach
The culinary staff adapts the menu seasonally, while retaining a few popular staples and menu favorites. There is an emphasis on local ingredients and purveyors throughout the menu, which includes small plates, sandwiches, salads and entrees. By far, the signature ingredient on the menu is crabmeat, which shows up in a crab corn chowder, a crabcake sandwich and a crab macand-cheese entree.
“Our take on simple food done well sets us apart. It’s about using the quality ingredients we do. When you order our crabcakes benedict or crabcake sandwich, there’s not [any] filler,” said Boucher, who oversees the entire golf facility, including the restaurant. “There are no shortcuts in the kitchen. Everything we use is fresh, and prepared fresh.”
The menu also features classic golf club favorites like the Bacon Dog and the restaurant’s house burger, The Potomac Burger, a thick, juicy decadence served with lettuce, tomato, onion and American cheese. The bacon dog includes bacon jam, caramelized onions and yellow mustard on a quarter-pound allbeef dog from Logan’s Sausage in Alexandria, Va.
The restaurant also offers a weekly Sunday brunch, which includes french toast, pancakes, home fries and a popular crabcake benedict with scallions and Old Bay seasoning.
“It’s simple food done well. It’s making sure the flavors are there that people are used to, but done in our own way,” adds Boucher.
A full bar menu includes a diverse selection of beer, liquor and wine, including Virginia-sourced beer and wine options. The restaurant also periodically hosts beer and wine dinners with custom-prepared menu items and drink pairings.
Yet the Tidewater Grill experience goes beyond just the food. It’s the look too. The decor is refined, yet warm and inviting without pretense. Floor-to-ceiling windows and doors wrap half the restaurant, providing impeccable views of the Jack Nicklaus designed course and its 18th hole. An exposed-brick fireplace gives the space a cozy, home-away-from-home feel. Dark brown woven rattan chairs blend seamlessly with skirted parsons chairs to provide comfort, elegance and versatility.
“It’s an upscale look, but with a casual feel to it. The decor of the clubhouse fits in perfectly with the look of the community here in Potomac Shores,” said Boucher.
An Event To Remember
The restaurant experience extends beyond just lunch and dinner service, but to customized catering and events, including weddings, birthdays, showers, luncheons and military-themed gatherings.
Being a new facility has its challenges, but the response for catering and events has been fantastic so far, said Kelsie Wallich, catering manager at Potomac Shores.
“The biggest challenge is actually getting people to come back here. A lot of people don’t know the venue. They don’t know that we’re public,” said Wallich, who coordinated five weddings there in 2015. “But once they get out here, they love the feeling. They say it feels like a home, which is wonderful to hear.”
The space is booking up quickly for 2016 weddings, and they have even begun to receive inquiries for 2017 events, Wallich said. For weddings, Wallich acts like as a concierge service, working with families from start to finish, including (but not limited to) creating customized layouts, menus, and proposals and working with vendors.
“We’re all about personalizing and customizing. I’m kind of like a wedding planner built into a catering salesperson. I’m not sure if that’s what they wanted, but that’s what they got,” joked Wallich, who is a prospective bride herself. “You can be a lot more organized if you know everything about [an event]. I don’t like surprises.”
Inside, the Tidewater Grill features an open layout with additional space in the clubhouse foyer for special events. The Grill also boasts an outdoor brick patio that can seat over 50 guests. And there are plans to add a fixed permanent covered structure to the area’s event lawn, complete with concrete flooring, fans, pillars and restrooms.
You’ll Be Back
So whether you go to the Tidewater Grill for an event or a meal, the experience is certain to leave a lasting positive impression, said Boucher.
“When you have a regionally-inspired menu, and such beautiful views, it’s something that every local person needs to experience,” said Boucher, who recently became a father of a baby girl. “It’s definitely a place where once you come once and see the menu and what we have to offer, you’re going to want to come back again and again.”
The Tidewater Grill is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, including a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, please visit the company website at potomacshoresgolfclub.com/tidewater-grill/ and on Facebook at facebook.com/PotomacShoresGC. To schedule a reservation, please call 571-383-3055.
David Gignilliat ([email protected]) grew up in Woodbridge. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he currently freelances for several publications. He authors his own blog, Quixotica, waxing semantic about the nuances of modern-day language and slang