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The Hollow goes beyond the golf crowd; Renovated restaurant at Manchester Country Club appeals to a wider base | Food And Drink

MANCHESTER — After months of renovations, The Hollow, the restaurant at Manchester Country Club, opened its doors on April 1, refining aesthetic and elevating its menu for not only golfers, but casual diners as well.

Randy McNamara, the food and beverage operator, said the reception from the community and the country club’s members has been good.

“We’ve seen a lot of new traffic, especially from the community who come in just to dine,” he said.

Group events have been in abundance at The Hollow since its reopening.

“The number of events is just short of astounding,” McNamara said, “because everyone is catching up from being closed for a year. We had to hire (an event coordinator) just to handle that.”

The Hollow offers two indoor and one outdoor tented banquet space that accommodates 60 to about 175 people, he said.

Event director Lisa Baehre said almost any event is welcome, including birthdays, weddings, funerals, bar and bat mitzvahs, and retirements, with both buffets and plated meals offered.

“We have a lot of teacher retirement parties this time of year,” she said. “You can call us directly, email me directly, we can do it over the phone, email, whatever.”

“Upstairs is an elegant, but approachable, group dining experience and downstairs is an every-day golf course pub,” McNamara said.

The concept of the “every-day golf course pub” has evolved over the decades. Gone is the dimly-lit, wood-paneled, smoke-filled stereotypical men’s club of the past. The Hollow is bright, with plenty of natural lighting and atmosphere.

“Our female guests are 45-50{5057b528e2ec7fd6c3736aa134727341eae4fdf6dd188ded3c2a814c0866380c} of our daily customers and we designed a lot of this with women in mind,” McNamara said. “We recognize the need to represent that demographic.”

The cleverly-coined menu also represents a more diverse collection of items than a hamburger and a hot dog, but also has five salads, six sandwiches and wraps, four pasta dishes, and a variety of appetizers.

With Chef Corey Wry, who once ran Corey’s Catsup and Mustard on Main Street, leading the kitchen, there are still going to be hamburgers, but they have his distinct touch.

The five burgers on the menu are named after the four Grand Slams of the PGA tour: The Masters, The US Open, The Brit, and the PGA, with the fifth burger — a turkey burger — named after what McNamara considers the unofficial fifth Grand Slam tournament, the Players Championship.

The burgers are served on an “everything” pretzel bun and are also available on a gluten-free bun for an additional $3 or as an “Impossible” burger for an additional $2.

Wry creates specials for the menu as well, McNamara said, including a shrimp and crab salad and twin loaded hot dogs with chili and cheese.

The cocktail menu offers its own menagerie of clever beverages.

Created by General Manager Matti Harrington, the menu offers drinks such as The King, aka “Mr. Palmer’s Mule” with Deep Eddy’s Sweet Tea Vodka, a splash of lemonade, ginger beer, and a squeeze of lemon; and The Angry Gilmore, Fireball whiskey with lemonade, a splash of grenadine, and a cherry on top.

“I think they did a beautiful job,” said William Troy of Manchester, who has been a member of the club for 10 years. “They upgraded the facility tremendously. I stop by every day.”

He said his favorite dishes include the Friars Club Wrap with roasted turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo in a whole wheat wrap; the New York Strip Steak; and the Fancy Smancy Bacon and Eggs, with smoked pork belly, deviled eggs, and honey-maple glaze.

David Shapard of Manchester said he loves the upgrades as well and couldn’t determine his favorite dish.

“It’s really well prepared,” he said. “To narrow it down would be unfair.”

He did say, though, that for first time visitors, they should try the shrimp cocktail, the sliders, the Brussels sprouts, or one of the burgers.

“The (potato) chips are not to be underestimated,” he said. “They’re made in-house.”

Clare Miller of Manchester said she was happy to have The Hollow back open.

“It’s comfortable,” she said. “I’ve been here since it opened. It’s bright, open, and Corey is a great chef. I love the Brussels sprouts. The other thing was the Fancy Smancy Bacon and Eggs. Everything is fresh.”

Terry Frolich of Manchester, whose favorite dish is Geno’s Philly Cheesesteak, agreed with Shapard and Miller, with whom he was dining.

“It’s fresh, clean, the food is good, the help is very nice, and the service is really good, and it’s very reasonable priced.”