Getting the menu right is a balancing act. For Sago, the Sea Palms Resort’s in-house restaurant, serving a wide range of customers can sometimes make it a challenge.
It also means recognizing that the perfect summer menu is not the perfect winter menu. Director of catering, Benjamin Clark, says the restaurant is up to the task as it nears the finish line for a new lineup of fall menus. And he should know.
“I’ve been everywhere, New York, DC, Miami, San Francisco and Nashville,” Clark said. “I worked for restaurants like Mina Group in San Francisco and we were touring five times a year.”
In a place like the Golden Isles, you serve a wide range of customers, he said — Sea Palms Golf Club members, locals and visitors coming on vacation from hundreds of miles away or just for a sightseeing excursion. a day from a neighboring county.
Making sure the dishes on offer accommodate all of these different groups while also making sure to incorporate lots of southern and east coast fairs is important, he said, but a restaurant like Sago, which prides itself to do everything from scratch, must also stay abreast of the season.
“You always want to change up your items that aren’t selling, and you want to keep it light and fresh,” Clark said. “There are berries that are seasonal, there are lettuces that you can buy at certain times of the year. Same for fish.
Heartier options will also appear on the fall menu, such as meatloaf, fried chicken, okra and steak. Seasonal availability will also determine the basis of dishes, from potatoes to vegetables to rice.
Developing a new menu is a strategic process that involves re-evaluating the entire menu, keeping items that have sold well, looking at the competition in the area and neighboring towns, and most importantly, incorporating whatever is fresh.
A new venture for the restaurant, Clark said the team is whipping up game-day specials like the Reliable Beer Bucket, chicken wings, nachos, jalapeno poppers and more.
“We want to accommodate everyone, I mean everyone,” Clark said.
Sago also has several events in the works aimed at children and adults. There’s no date yet, but a battle of groups is on the table, as well as resuming a Christmas tree-lighting event that was shelved during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 and a New Year’s gingerbread house decorating contest.
Some of the new specials and events appeal to him more due to time spent in more casual establishments in San Francisco, but his last job was at an upscale steakhouse in Nashville.
Likewise, taking a job at a restaurant in Glynn County, away from the intensity of the big city, was a strategic move for Clark.
“I love it,” he said. “We’re about three hours away from my wife’s family, and it’s a slower pace of life than in one of those big cities with over a million people. I’m raising a 3-year-old girl, and that’s kind of the idea, in addition to being closer to the grandparents.
Among the hearty menu options to look out for is the bacon-wrapped meatloaf, a personal Clark favorite from this set of offerings.
“It was pretty phenomenal when I tasted it,” Clark said. “We’re doing a preview menu this week, we’ll see if it’s still my favorite.”
That will be on the menu when the changes take effect this fall. Another of the new additions is a set of sweet and savory sliders.
3 oz. marinated vegetable salad
3 oz. barbecue sauce of your choice
Directions: Buy or smoke your own pulled pork. Lightly toast the buns and top with a portion of pulled pork. Garnish with vegetable salad and serve with BBQ sauce on the side.
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