By Paul Keily, Contributing Writer
The Brass Cannon Restaurant, operating since 2001, is tucked away oﬀ Route 29 in Gainesville, inside the clubhouse of the Stonewall Golf Club at Lake Manassas. Many people mistakenly think that the restaurant is private and only accessible to club members, but it is open to the public daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The golf course is also public, with a daily fee.
The restaurant’s large windows overlook the tree-lined hills surrounding Lake Manassas, oﬀering a scenic view for diners. The sights are part of what keeps customers coming back. “Around lunchtime I like to sit by the window that overlooks the lake and watch the golfers ﬁnish at the 18th hole,” patron Ron Beckner said.
The view is not the only beauty to be found in the restaurant. Two traditional brass chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the wooden walls are dazzling in the sunlight, as are the red and white carpets. A portrait of Stonewall Jackson, for whom the golf club was named, hangs above the ﬁreplace. Several other paintings of outdoorsmen adorn the walls. Calming small-combo jazz music plays in the background, audible enough to add ambiance but not so loud as to stiﬂe conversation.
Making Every Event Special
Connected to the restaurant’s main room is the Magnolia Room, used mainly to host private events, such as weddings, golf tournaments and corporate lunches. The gorgeous scenery and décor make the Magnolia Room, which can hold up to 200 guests, an excellent choice for any event.
The friendly and helpful staﬀ and a ﬂexible catering menu also enhance the experience at the Brass Cannon. “Our catering menu diﬀers for events depending on the party. We work with guests to make every event special,” said Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage Andrew Schwarz. “It is common to have two events a day. About four or ﬁve times a month we have to close the restaurant early [for private events]. I would encourage patrons to call ahead in advance, especially on weekends,” he added. Last year the clubhouse hosted 386 events.
A brunch buﬀet is served on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. till 1:30p.m. Its oﬀering of breakfast and lunch items includes a soup and salad bar, omelet and carving stations, kids’ corner and desserts. Each brunch commonly brings in 140 to 150 golfers, so reservations are a good idea. Lately, the restaurant has also seen a surge of non-golfers, including a busy business lunch crowd on weekdays.
This April, the Brass Cannon started serving breakfast every day, from 7 a.m. till 11 a.m. “Only two other places serve breakfast in Gainesville and we wanted to give people, and especially golfers, another option. However, our main focus will continue to be on the lunch menu,” Schwarz said.
All menu items are available at any point in the day. “Not everyone starts their day at the same time; we want to be able to serve people the food they need for where they are in their day,” said Schwarz, who also cooks up daily specials.
Changing Menu Keeps More than the Food Fresh
Schwarz, who has been with the Brass Cannon for four years, has an extensive professional kitchen resumé spanning 35 years, including stints at Marriott and Disney. His experience inspires a dynamic menu that changes completely, from appetizers to entrees, every six months.
The food is mostly American-style cuisine with a wide variety of salads, sandwiches and meat-based entrees. The menu is spiced up with appetizers, such as the roasted garlic hummus and spring rolls. The ever-changing menu is also inﬂuenced by the many repeat customers, who often suggest new items to be added to the rotation.
The restaurant’s fresh approach is not limited to its food. The Brass Cannon has a 12-seat bar where you can watch golf on the big-screen television, talk with friends about your day on the links—and enjoy a variety of alcohol selections that also keep changing.
“We oﬀer a variety of uncommon wines. We wanted to make a change from the classic variety of merlots, chardonnays and white zinfandels to more exotic and intriguing grape varieties like tempranillos,” said Restaurant Manager Sergio Cabrera. “We also change the beer selection every two months to match the season. In winter we have heavier wheat beers, and in the summer we have much lighter beers on tap.”
The restaurant will begin having drink and food specials in May, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, he added.
Service and Accommodations “Beyond Par”
Beckner described the Brass Cannon as “comfortable and cozy.” He added, “I have been eating at the restaurant for ﬁve years, and the staﬀ is very friendly, the food is consistently good, and the atmosphere is usually quiet. It is also a good place to entertain business clients, especially for after-business-hours gatherings.” Beckner recommended the homemade chicken salad.
A customer of the Brass Cannon for nine years, Trish Langley of Gainesville echoed Beckner’s praise, calling the atmosphere “very inviting.” She said, “The staﬀ and service [are]excellent, and they make you feel welcome.” Langley’s favorite menu item is the crab cake sandwich. She also suggested the Brass Cannon as a wonderful place for brides-to-be looking for a wedding location. “eir service and accommodations are beyond par,” she said.
The Brass Cannon is located at 15601 Turtle Point Drive at Stonewall Golf Club at Lake Manassas. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7a.m. until 5 p.m., when it closes for private events. Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. till 8p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. till 5 p.m. For more information and to make reservations, call 703-753-6140.
Paul Keily recently graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing. He currently lives in Fredericksburg and is seeking professional opportunities.