<BR> City to continue running Meadow Lakes Restaurant
- Bill Sheehy
- Central Oregonian - News
> The city will continue to operate the restaurant at Meadow Lakes Golf Course, at least for a few more months.
In a report presented to the city council, City Administrator Henry Hartley explained that since the last private operator "went south," Wayne VanMatre and Lore Ontko have managed the facility. VanMatre and Ontko are also employees of the golf course and stepped in when the previous operator left.
Hartley said he believes that the present staff can continue to operate the restaurant and "I firmly believe we can break even. We think this is the way to go right now."
Presenting budgets for both the golf course and the restaurant, he started to explain how things have gone since the city has been in the restaurant business. It developed, however, that many of the figures were in error, so that part of the discussion was deferred to a later meeting.
The question of having the city staff continue remained, though. "Being realistic," VanMatre said, "we are trying to provide a quality experience so people will come back." That hasn't been easy, VanMatre said. One of the problems was having to take a restaurant that was basically run-down and trying to rebuild it. "And doing it with the least number of staff that's necessary to get people in and out of lunch within an hour," in order to keep expenses down, has been hard work.
Operating the restaurant and still covering his job as Golf Course Superintendent has meant working extra long days, "but I think it's worth it to the community. The is now our long-term plan," he explained. "We'd like to build it up so it'll carry its own weight and then let someone take it over."
Hartley asked that the council approve having the city carry on, at least through the rest of the calendar year. Council member Brenda Comini suggested revisiting the operation in June or July. "We can then see whether or not to go looking for an operator. If we did advertise for an operator then, it would be on the business upswing."
Hartley agreed, saying they would have a very good idea of how things are going by then. "If someone comes by with a good offer, though, trust me, we'll be glad to step away."
The restaurant has been serving lunch seven days a week since reopening, with full bar service all day for golfers. VanMatre said there is no plan at this time for returning to providing a full dinner service.