Put away all notions of The Clubhouse at Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa being a members-only restaurant, and consider this your primer for a lunch or dinner visit. No membership cards, reservations or VIP credentials are required to explore The Clubhouse’s myriad food and drink options.
“We’re not a private club,” Director of Food & Beverage Wade Combs says. “Every restaurant is open to the public as well. The Clubhouse, I would say, is more contemporary American fare with local influences. We do a lot of local craft beers and a lot of scratch cooking.”
As one of four independently run eateries at the resort, The Clubhouse offers burgers, steaks, chicken wings, tacos, sandwiches and a variety of appetizers, salads and desserts that appeal to a broad audience, including those coming straight from the golf course. “It’s located near the golf course, at the back of the resort. It’s there for any golfers who are hungry after finishing a round. This is a very come-as-you-are place, very family friendly,” Wade says.
The Clubhouse’s Burger of the Month is a popular special that allows patrons to try different flavor combinations every few weeks. The August Burger of the Month is the Chipotle Burger, a mouth-watering blend of Havarti cheese, chipotle aioli, avocado, bacon, cilantro, tomato and a hint of lime. September’s Burger of the Month, The Iberian, will feature garlic spread, mayonnaise, chorizo, roasted red peppers, red onion, arugula and provolone cheese.
The tacos from the “Taco Truck” section of the menu are also especially popular among patrons, Wade says. The Street Taco includes fried chicken fingers with shredded cabbage, sriracha and boom boom sauce; the Shrimp Taco includes shredded cabbage and jalapeno sauce; the Al Pastor Taco combines pulled pork, pineapple pico de gallo and chipotle sauce; and the Taco Trio is the mix-and-match option for those who want more than just one taco.
An item Wade says sometimes gets overlooked is the Southern, a fried bologna panini with egg, Swiss cheese, red onion and a pickle on sourdough bread. Or you can go the Gourmet Grilled Cheese route: your choice of grilled cheese or panino—pimento cheese on whole wheat, ham and Gruyère on sourdough, and bacon, avocado and Havarti on whole wheat—served with a cup of tomato soup and house fries. Under “All Day Supper,” the Mac-N-Cheese Veggie Plate comes with mac-n-cheese, smoked corn, collard greens, fried okra and Alabama Caviar, a chilled black-eyed pea dish. And the wings are smoked, roasted and tossed in homemade wing sauce. “They’re huge,” Wade says.
Even though the menu changes periodically, many of the more popular items remain on as staples. Past items can often be made upon request, as long as all of the necessary ingredients are on-hand. “We try to be very accommodating with any special requests,” Wade says. “We change the menu about once a year there. The menu’s probably been changed a dozen times. We like to mix it up.”
The cold cuts are Boar’s Head meats. The salads are a balanced mixture of greens and toppings. “What we’ve tried to make sure we do on all our salads is 50-50 with the lettuce and toppings,” Wade says. “It’s a more robust salad and more flavorful, frankly. The ratio is better. It’s very balanced.”
In addition, all of the restaurant’s bread is made in-house, along with the french fries, salad dressings and desserts. The banana pudding is real pudding, not a mix. All pies are made from scratch, and with local fruits when they’re in season. “No component of these desserts is purchased,” Wade says. “All are made from scratch.”
“Adult” desserts include Key Lime Martini, Brandy Alexander, Chocolate Martini and Coke Float + Jack Daniel’s. The Clubhouse features an extensive wine menu, and uses local spirits in its cocktails as much as possible. Fun names like Magic City Martini (a dirty martini made with pickled okra brine and Birmingham’s own Redmont Vodka) fill the cocktail menu. At any given time, about a dozen local beers are on tap. “Those are always changing,” he says.
The Clubhouse offers indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a call-ahead take-out option. Restaurant Chef Crystal Rogers and Executive Chef Robert Kamm lead the restaurant’s staff. The Clubhouse is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for lunch and dinner service. Grab-and-go breakfast items are available each morning at 6 a.m.
Wade recommends sitting on the terrace, which overlooks the golf course, and having a burger and cocktail. The invitation is open to everyone. “We like to be part of the community,” he says. “Often, people don’t think of hotel restaurants that way. We want to break free from the concept of the resort restaurant.”