RINCON — A powerful, well-planned shot to enhance the dining options and atmosphere at the City of Rincon’s Lost Plantation Golf Course officially launched this week.
Located inside the renovated clubhouse at 1 Clubhouse Drive, Fairway Bistro offers a wide variety of items at reasonable prices. The menu includes tasty starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, Italian cuisine, steak, seafood and much more.
“It’s been a long time coming and an awful lot of citizens have helped out, including some volunteers,” City Manager John Klimm said.
Chef Bruce Battista, a veteran of more than 50 years in the food industry, spearheaded the transformation of the eatery, which includes a remodeled kitchen and modernized dining area.
“He is a visionary,” Klimm said. “He promised to get this thing up and running, and he did a terrific job.”
Battista, who has owned and operated 11 restaurants, prepared the bistro for a soft opening in October before turning his spatula over to Executive Chef/Manager Mike Chapman, a notable cooking expert in the Lowcountry for three decades.
“We are very pleased so far,” Klimm said, “and I think the neighborhood is excited, too.”
Klimm and City of Rincon officials, however, are counting on Fairway Bistro attracting hungry customers from outside the Lost Plantation subdivision.
“A real point is that this is a community operation,” Klimm said. “It isn’t just for the immediate neighborhood. We want residents of the entire City of Rincon, Effingham County and the region to know that this is a great restaurant alternative for them.”
Chapman said many people don’t realize that Fairway Bistro is open to the public.
“This is not a private, gated thing where you have to go through security to get in,” he said. “To get people to understand that, know that and come here is the biggest obstacle.”
“Not only is it open to the public, it is owned by the public,” Klimm added. “The citizens of Rincon own this restaurant. It is their restaurant.”
The food operations improvements were made with the goal of making the golf course a budgetary plus for the city.
“The genesis was the National Golf Foundation’s operational audit that was completed last year,” Klimm said. “Out of the many recommendations that they made — this is really the preeminent one. What we had before was basically a snack bar.”
Chapman, a Savannah native and resident of Bluffton, S.C., said business was steady during the soft opening when customer traffic was moved strictly by social media and word of mouth.
“I can only imagine what a little advertising will bring,” he said.
Fairway Bistro is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. The Sunday hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
“I started doing Sunday brunch here shortly after I came on board,” Chapman said. “Initially, it was a member-guest type of thing but it took off. There was a lot of talk about it and people wanted to see it again.
“I decided to keep rolling with it and it seems to get better and better every week.”
Fairway Bistro’s first Sunday brunch featured a breakfast bar. Now lunch items are added to it at 11 a.m.
“I just replenish it over and over as long as customers keep coming through the door,” Chapman said.
Fairway Bistro will feature a taco and enchilada bar on Tuesdays from 4-8 p.m. The cost is $13.99 (includes tea, water or coffee).
Takeout items are also an option and parts of the facility can be rented for parties, weddings, etc.
On New Year’s Eve, the bistro will ring in 2020 with a dining special that requires reservations. The cost is $125.
Fairway Bistro, which can seat 48 inside and will soon have room for 40 more on a patio, features a staff of 12 mostly part-time workers. Megan Vassil is in charge of the dining room.
“With the economy (being so good), it’s been difficult to staff up,” Klimm said. “That really is why the period of soft opening took place because we have really been trying on a daily basis to get additional employees. There is a lot of competition out there — so that has been a challenge — but we are delighted with the staff that we have now.
“We are excited about it.”
Chapman will frequently leave the kitchen to engage diners.
“I like to see how they are doing, if the food is good and if there are any changes they might want,” he said. “I always take that input from people.”
Klimm said customer feedback has been positive.
“People that come here tell us that they appreciate the fact that it’s clean, it’s affordable, that it’s casual and that it’s fun,” he said. “You can tell when people are here that they are having a good time. It’s kind of a hidden jewel.
“This is really a community success story."
Call (912) 826-0155 for more information.