THE 19TH HOLE By Carey Sweet

Staying CLASSY!



ou can order a “sand-wedge” at the new Ocotillo Grille in Chandler,

or for that matter, an “on the green” plate. Those clever titles translate into a Reuben ($11.50), and a salad, such as the classic Cobb laced with plenty of chicken, avocado, egg, bacon and blue cheese ($12.95). Yet beyond just being

cute, the new menu heralds an updated identity for the eatery, set alongside the Ted Robinson-designed golf course. After a group led by pro golfer Phil Mickelson purchased the property near Alma School and Ocotillo roads last May, the course was treated to some structural upgrades, and the restaurant, the former Bernard’s (fine dining), was transformed into a more relaxed sports bar and family restaurant concept. These days, along with

signature patio dining overlooking a beautiful fairway-side rock waterfall and pond, we enjoy more casual American cuisine. The place still looks elegant, certainly, gleaming with polished wood floors and a dramatic, curved wood ceiling. A stone-trimmed

bar spans the length of the room, and stylish pendant lighting casts a warm glow over leather furniture. For a sports bar, it’s classy. Naturally, the place brims

with Mickelson memorabilia, in framed displays lining the walls above multiple flat- and big-screen TVs. Some of the best seats are in an intimate lounge area next to the bar, cozy with black and red leather armchairs in front of three large TVs. It’s a perfect spot for a cocktail and nibble such as nachos, the chips buried in a flurry of grilled chicken, black beans, jalapeños, black olives, green onion, sour cream and salsa ($9.95). Traditional, yes, but terrific, too.

18 | AZ GOLF Insider | SPRING-SUMMER 2018 The change seems to be

a welcome one. Open to the public, the Grille is continuing to be a destination in its own right, said Ocotillo’s director of golf, Mark Bakeman. In fact, about 50 percent of the Grille’s customers come in to dine even if they’re not playing golf, he noted. Under the direction of

chef Ben Berhorst, the menu covers all the staples, from a gooey, cheesy chicken quesadilla traditionally garnished with cilantro, guacamole, sour cream and salsa ($9.95), to a half-pound cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and red onion on a toasted brioche bun ($12). The perfect capper to a round on one of the three rejuvenated

The interior of what once was called Bernard’s Restaurant has been converted into a sports bar theme called Ocotillo Grille (above), complete with Phil Mickelson memorabilia (upper left). A bronze statue (left) greets visitors at the club’s entrance.

nines, which include the Gold, Blue and White. One of my favorite lunch

items shines here, a club sand- wich piled with ham, turkey, bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato on toasted sourdough ($10.50); it’s a filling meal including a side of crisp fries. I also love French dip, and this version boasts a twist, along the lines of French onion soup with its melted Gruyere and sweet griddled onions atop the roast beef, all mounded on a toasted French roll for dunking in hot jus ($11.50). Poutine is another

thoughtfully made dish, the fries smothered in savory brown gravy and plump cheese curds for a belly- filling indulgence ($7).



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