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Backswing Grill opens at public golf course

Menu features elevated pub food, great selection of beer, wine


STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Henry Preston, left, owner of Backswing Grill, and Chef Bob Whitley invite everyone to dine at Backswing Grill, serving upscale pub fare at the Lake Oswego Golf Course.

Keep your head down, eye on the ball, swing all the way back and all the way forward. Then go in and have a beer at the newly opened Backswing Grill at the Lake Oswego Public Golf Course. Opened in early April, the grill offers a wide variety of elevated pub food and a great selection of beer and wine.

The grill is owned by Henry Preston, and Bob Whitley is the general manager. This is Preston’s first restaurant.

A Navy veteran, Whitley has been in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years. His career includes managing a chain of restaurants in Maui, Hawaii, and cooking at Maher’s Irish Brew Pub and The Gemini Bar and Grill in Lake Oswego. That is where Preston and Whitley met. Preston was a security guard for The Gemini; he loves to cook and Whitley invited him to experiment in the kitchen.

“He took me under his wing and taught me everything I know,” Preston said. “You don’t find opportunities like that very often.”Preston has always wanted to own his own business. He and Whitley planned to open a food cart, and when a funding partner quit their project they were naturally disappointed.

“I was really down in the dumps,” Preston said. “A golf buddy of mine called and asked if I wanted to go golfing. I told him what had happened and said I didn’t really feel like it but he said ‘Let’s go — it’s already paid for.’” Preston said they were able to get 9 holes in before the rain started and they headed back to the club house, where a golfer was having a conversation with Tom Mueller, the golf course manager, about needing someone to take over the café. “I raised my hand and said I would do it,” Preston said. It was just a matter of weeks before Preston and Whitley opened Backswing Grill.

The Thai chicken sandwich made with house-made sriracha is also popular and the French fries have taken on celebrity status.

The menu at Backswing Grill is not your typical golf café fare.

“It’s kind of a fusion menu,” Preston said, who grew up in Hawaii. That heritage, plus his travels while in the military gives him an appreciation for a variety of cuisines and flavors. Popular items on the menu include the Kahlua pork sandwich and the Thai chicken sandwich, which has a sweet hot sauce enhanced with a house-made sriracha sauce. The menu includes hand-formed hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, salads and more, all upgraded from typical café fare. The hot dog is served on a pretzel bun, and the French fries have already taken on celebrity status in the short time the grill has been open.

Don’t forget to save room for dessert — you’ll want to try the house made deconstructed smores and strawberry cheesecake.

“In fact,” said Linnea Kaping, who manages the front of the house, “you might want to order dessert first, so you don’t miss out — they are that good!”

Fried Brussels sprouts ala Backswing Grill.

All the items on the menu are made from scratch, using quality ingredients. Preston said the menu will change, as Whitley and he get inspired, but will always keep the favorites. Be sure to order the fried brussels sprouts and the Kahlua pork tacos while they are on the menu.

Breakfast is served on weekends, and, as the golf season comes into full swing, will be offered daily, as well as cart service on the course. As you finish on hole 8 you can call the grill and have your order waiting when you get to the turnaround. Grab and go sandwiches and salads are available too, plus bottled beverages.

Backswing Grill caters events of all sizes and looks forward to getting involved with school, team and organization fundraisers. They also plan on offering weekly events like poker and Trivia nights, acoustic music and more.

They currently offer bottled beer and wine, and will be adding beers on tap and a full bar soon. Happy hour is held every day from 5 p.m. to closing.

“We want this to be a destination for golfers as well as those who don’t play,” Preston said. “We will be open year round. We’ll get the barbecue going soon.”

Seating is available inside and out on the patio. Backswing Grill is open seven days a week from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. or later, depending on weather and activities. High school students get a 10 percent discount on orders.

Call 503-534-5431 or stop by Backswing Grill at 17525 S.W. Stafford Road inside the Lake Oswego Municipal Golf Course clubhouse.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..