You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy a meal at The Bistro. Just off Solomons Island Road, The Bistro is located at The South River Golf Club. This restaurant has a lot more to offer than a delicious meal after a round of golf. A work in progress, the restaurant has undergone several changes in recent months—with more planned.
The recent renovations include the addition of private booths, banquets and new lighting fixtures. A fireplace has been added to the bar area and a few other minor touch-ups have been made as well. More construction is expected in the next year including enclosing a portion of the patio area for large party seating.
Ted Swigert, director of food and beverages at The Bistro said that the renovations are part of a plan to attract more customers to the restaurant and build membership at the club. “You have such a huge population of people south of Annapolis,” he said. “We’re really trying to market ourselves as a convenient location.”
Swigert explained that although the Bistro is technically part of the Golf Club, about half his customers are visiting strictly for the restaurant. “This is just a great place to eat and drink, even if you’re not a golfer,” he said.
“There are things we can do that a lot of restaurants can’t do, but here it works great,” he said. Swigert mentioned that his location is more flexible with the kind of entertainment he can host as opposed to a typical restaurant. There are several game nights and family events held every week. Swigert is even planning to host a stand-up comedy night next month.
Although the restaurant offers a few unique features, Swigert said there is still one factor that is most important to keeping his guests happy. “The key factor in separating ourselves from the pack is hospitality,” he said. “We decided to take the approach that everyone is a part of the hospitality aspect with genuine warmth and attention from every member of our staff.”
With a rough economy, it has been a challenge to draw new business or even maintain a customer base, but Swigert sees customer service as one of the most important elements of the business.
“It’s too competitive now not to take care of everyone,” he said.
Swigert explained that another change that has really brought new life to the place has been executive chef Quintin West. “He really changed the whole dynamic of what we could do with the property,” he said. “It’s American cuisine, homemade. Taking the best of what Maryland has to offer and making it from scratch.”
West’s resume includes 22 years of experience in restaurant and catering services. He is known for innovative dishes and unique menu concepts. His specialties include French, Italian and American cuisine. West has worked in the D.C. area at a number of fine dining restaurants including Dean and Dulca and Angelo and Maxie’s Steakhouse.
For guests visiting the restaurant for the first time, West recommends trying the scallop and chick pea salad, shrimp dumplings or lobster mac and cheese. “The concept of the menu is upscale American cuisine, with different flavors from around the country,” he said. “But a lot of my menu ideas I base on what people want.”
West said he regularly visits the dining room to talk with guests about what they like and what they would like to see added to the menu. He says the feedback he receives has made his menu very popular. “Everybody’s got something on there [the menu] that they like,” he said.
The menu at The Bistro also includes sandwiches, seafood and steak. Guests here can relax with a few beers and wings or enjoy a bottle of wine and a N.Y. strip. With live entertainment, various gaming nights and other events there are plenty of things to enjoy here.
The golf club is currently in the process of transitioning from a public course to private club. However, the restaurant will remain open to the public even after the transition. Lunch is served daily and dinner is available Tuesday through Saturday.