Meadow Lakes restaurant/golf course shows best month ever

July saw a 'nominal loss' financial report for the city's municipal golf course and restaurant, but the August report bragged of being "the best August the facility has ever seen"
Those who believed that Meadow Lakes, both the restaurant and the golf course, was a Prineville boondoggle can take heart: August turned a clear profit.
   Since opening its doors on August 13, 1993, the city-owned restaurant has been all too often a financial liability. Operator after operator attempted to make the facility profitable but each failed. Early in the summer of 2000, the last person to take on the operation came in with all the hopes and dreams of the previous four or five managers. Three months later he gave up the job and returned to running a motel/restaurant on the coast.
   Not willing to simply close the doors, the city council decided to run the restaurant using golf course management personnel. Course Superintendent Wayne VanMatre and Pro Shop Manager Lorie Ontko began splitting their attention between the two operations.
   For the next few months the golf course rode the roller coaster of profitability; making money during the summer months and dropping back when the weather kept golfers off the fairways. Restaurant service had been reduced to serving only lunches. Wedding receptions and, during the holiday season, parties continued to be scheduled with caterers handling the food service.
   Slowly, under the management of Ontko and VanMatre, the numbers on the loss side of the ledger presented to the council each month have become smaller and smaller. When the July report was presented, it was labeled a "nominal loss" for the restaurant, and the golf course also reported being down as compared to the same month the year before. This week, when reporting again to the council, VanMatre was more positive.
   August, VanMatre reported, was profitable for both restaurant and golf course. "This was the best August revenue in the history of Meadow Lakes," he said. "And September looks good and so does October."
   The financial report gave the numbers: total sales for the restaurant was $27,305 with total expenses coming to $25,537. That gave the restaurant a profit of $1,768.
   On the golf course operation, revenues were about $88,700 and expenses slightly more than $40,000, for a profit of $48,550. The total profit of the city's operation was more than $50,000.
   Is that, one council member joked, enough to subsidize another money-strapped city enterprise operation ... the railroad? It was money borrowed from the railroad that originally helped finance the golf course. A few years later, it was to the railroad fund that the city went when upgrades and repairs were needed following the departure of at least one restaurant operator.
   Looking ahead, VanMatre told the council that things look good: bookings for holiday parties are already being made. "We've already taken more bookings for the Christmas season than was held last year, and more are expected," he said.
   September and October are expected to be good months for the golf course, also. Two huge tournaments are scheduled for October; Golf Digest's Pacific Amateur Golf Tournament early in the month and the Kiwanis Pro-Am tourney on Oct. 13-14.
   Meanwhile, normal play at Meadow Lakes is as high as any other courses in the region are reporting, and with restaurant service catering to the golfers and a growing lunch crowd, the next report to the city council should be nearly as positive as this month's report.