Orchards Restaurant: Putting a Fresh Face on a Familiar Favorite

Newly reopened with a refreshed menu, this staple at Aurora’s Orchard Valley Golf Course is whipping up a fresh dining experience for golfers and non-golfers alike.

New offerings at Orchards Restaurant, at Orchard Valley Golf Course in Aurora, include the Angus rib-eye topped with herb compound butter.

Orchard Valley Golf Course in Aurora, which turns 30 this year, has long been recognized as one of Chicagoland’s top championship golf courses. In part, those ratings reflect the impact of the top-rated, full-service dining facility that operates within Orchard Valley’s clubhouse.

Now, that experience is rising to new levels as the Orchards Restaurant has recently re-opened with a new, fresh look and menu overseen by Executive Chef Robert Sajdak. It’s garnering praise and rave reviews from patrons.

The excitement began this past January when the Fox Valley Park District entered into a five-year agreement with Troon Inc. – the world’s largest golf course management and hospitality company – to oversee operations at Orchard Valley. Troon features a corporate division in the food and beverage space that oversees each of its properties.

“Early in the spring, Troon sent a team to survey the local industry and develop a strategy to re-introduce Orchards Restaurant as a formidable option in the area’s dining scene,” says Jim Pilmer, park district executive director. “Ben Nachtwey was named to oversee the golf course, pro shop and Orchards Restaurant.”

Frank DiBrizzi, Orchard Valley’s new food and beverage director, brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm. He has a lifetime family background in the restaurant industry and has honed his skills over the years at other well-known restaurants. A graduate of Marmion Academy in Aurora, he brings a local connection, too.

He describes the warm, family-friendly atmosphere at Orchards Restaurant as a country club where everyone belongs. “We attract two different types of clientele: golf dining patrons and local families,” DiBrizzi says. “And we are pleased that both have really embraced the changes here and are enjoying our carefully crafted menu and expert wine selections.”

The restaurant’s lunch menu features tasty sandwiches like the popular lobster roll, rib-eye steak, reuben, loaded brat and Chicago-style hot dog, plus generous half-pound burgers – to name a few highlights.

Fresh, mouthwatering choices continue into the evening with eclectic dinner entrees.
“Our seafood risotto and cajun shrimp and grits have been extremely popular right from the start,” adds DiBrizzi. “And people love our classic comfort-food meatloaf, certified Angus beef steaks and herb-crusted chicken breast.”

Delicious sides round out the dinner menu, with choices such as parmesan-crusted asparagus, roasted shallot Yukon mashed potatoes, tri-colored baby carrots, and herb parmesan risotto.

Unique shareables are also prominently featured. “Guests can choose from a variety of temptations, like parmesan truffle fries, traditional or boneless wings, or our one-of-a-kind flammkuchen, a flatbread-based German pizza that’s baked to perfection with flavorful toppings,” adds DiBrizzi.

Lighter fares also satisfy appetites for lunch and dinner, with options like special salads and a variety of sizzling flatbreads.

Guests can enjoy lunch in the Bar & Grill or outdoors on the patio. Dinner is served in the main dining room.

Everyone involved with the Orchards Restaurant has contributed to its initial success, making it a memorable experience for each guest.

“Troon’s leadership and expertise position Orchards Restaurant as a unique destination with multiple dining options,” notes Pilmer. “We, as the Fox Valley Park District, the client, have an opportunity to incorporate locally harvested product from family-owned farms and markets to give our menus an intentional local flair. So, there’s another layer of depth to our partnership and overall strategy.”

Orchards Restaurant is open daily, serving lunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.