Tustin Ranch: Now serving your appetite
Interesting menu options, craft beers and an upgraded dining experience await golfers these days as they make the walk off 18 green at Tustin Ranch GC in Orange County. With a new commitment to its food and beverage services, Tustin Ranch has significantly upgraded its restaurant, making it a go-to spot for post-round eats as well as a popular spot for local residents.
“I began working here in December 2005 and stayed for five years before taking a job elsewhere,” said Brian Penny, the food and beverage manager. “I came back three years ago and the changes we’ve made since then are incredible. We wanted more of a restaurant feel and we got it. For me, it’s been like Christmas every day for the last few months because of the changes and evolution of the restaurant.”
The facility hired designers to re-imagine the space earlier this year, with new tables, chairs, carpet … you name it … being brought in to spruce up the dining area. The biggest change to the interior, however, may be how well you can now see the exterior.
“The designers opened things up so you can see more of the golf course,” said Penny.
But to thrive at a restaurant you have to have good food, and that they do. With a chef who has a Hawaiian background, the menu is dotted with impressive seafood options, Asian influences and, of course, golf course menu staples.
“You have to have the food for golfers, and that means having a great burger and a really good club sandwich,” Penny said.
Penny’s favorite item on the menu? “I’m a burger guy, big time, so I’d say our deluxe classic cheeseburger.”
Indeed, the menu at Tustin Ranch boasts eight different burgers, including varieties made of lamb, turkey and venison, but all have one thing in common: handmade brioche buns that are delivered daily from a local bakery, which give their burgers, and sliders, added appeal.
In addition to the golf course staples, it’s hard to ignore several other menu items. For instance, there are three kinds of nachos you can get — and let us warn you, portion sizes are large. In addition to classic nachos, there are the Tustin Ranch Signature Nachos, made on potato chips and sort of like an enhanced version of sour cream and onion chips; as well as Dragon
Nachos, made with wonton chips, teriyaki chicken, Sriracha sauce and other Asian influences.
But with all the enhancements to the facility and menu, one staple has remained the same, and that’s the wildly popular Sunday brunch. With a full seafood station featuring oysters, crab legs, calamari and shrimp cocktails, which falls adjacent to the omelette station, meat carving station and chocolate fountain, you’d be hard pressed to find a better brunch buffet in the area.
“We’ve won awards for our Sunday Brunch,” Penny said. “It really is a beautiful brunch. It’s $34.99 per person, so for a golf course brunch we do try and keep it high end, but the service is great, and the atmosphere is great. It gets really crowded.”
And to top it all off, when Penny returned to the facility three years ago he brought with him a commitment to upping the suds.
“We have 10 beers on tap, with a lot of craft stuff,” he said. “We keep three or four beers locked in, and the rest rotate.”
So whether you’re heading to Tustin Ranch for its famous Free Golf on Your Birthday program or you are just in the area, making its restaurant a pit stop makes sense.
“Our location really helps, as we’re so close to Irvine, Santa Ana and Costa Mesa,” said Penny. “It’s great to see golfers in here eating, but more and more we’re seeing non-golfers in here for lunch and dinner and I love that. People from the neighborhood coming for our themed dinner nights, like Taco Night or Make Your Own Pizza Night. It’s really becoming a destination and important piece of our whole facility”
The Restaurant at Tustin Ranch is open 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for Sunday brunch. For more, visit tustinranchgolf.com.