This story is featured in CityBeat’s Could 3 print version.
It’s not all the time a good suggestion to alter what works. Earlier than it was not too long ago overhauled and rebranded as The Acres, Etter’s Golf Middle had provided a fundamental driving vary and a small mini golf course because it opened in 1950.
“I believe it’s just about been arrange virtually precisely like this, unchanged, for 70 years.” Todd Gailar, managing companion of The Acres, instructed CityBeat.
At a time when the ability was displaying its age, and never in a cool classic method, Gailar was an Etter’s common who envisioned extra for the property. He thought it might use greater than only a recent coat of paint, however somewhat a full revamp, including meals, drinks and extra enjoyable out of doors actions.
“I got here right down to hit a bucket of balls, and on my method down I assumed, man, this could possibly be a cool idea,” Gailar mentioned.
In 2020, Gailar began speaking to the earlier proprietor about the opportunity of shopping for the enterprise.
“I got here to him saying I wished to purchase it and hold it a driving vary, and form of keep it up the legacy that he had created,” Gailar mentioned.
Gailar recruited a couple of others to speculate so he might purchase the property. “It’s actually 5 associates who all contributed slightly bit of cash to get all the things constructed,” he mentioned.
Quick ahead to June of 2022, and Gailar’s imaginative and prescient turned actuality. The Acres now options two mini golf programs, a Trackman interactive golf simulator and the golf heart’s first full bar and restaurant. In addition they added house to only hang around. There are hearth pits, cornhole boards and loads of out of doors tables and seating.
However the brand new house owners didn’t change all the things. Gailar himself had recollections right here, and he wished to maintain and even restore among the historical past of the place. As an alternative of demolishing the 2 authentic buildings on the property and ranging from scratch, they renovated them.
“Preserving among the nostalgia, which is preserving these buildings, was vital to us as a result of you might have so many generations of Cincinnatians who’ve come right here. And so they love to come back again,” Gailar mentioned.
Gailar harks again to the “barbershop really feel” of regulars simply hanging out at Etter’s. He wished to maintain the sensation of a neighborhood spot the place individuals know one another. Over time, the 2 buildings (the professional store and the now restaurant/bar) performed an enormous half in these connections.
“That [building that now houses the restaurant and bar], in all probability within the ‘60s, was an ice cream store; within the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was an arcade, and within the ‘90s, for a time frame, it was an affordable deli sandwich store. Then that closed and it simply turned storage.”
Gailar and firm gutted the constructing, conserving a couple of previous objects they discovered, together with a ’60s Pepsi can that continues to be on a shelf above the brand new bar.
The meals menu at The Acres’ restaurant is a brief collection of what Gailar calls “elevated American classics.” The Acres consulted with Chef LeRoy Ansley, previously of Queen Metropolis Hospitality (Senate), to create the menu. Joey Sack serves because the restaurant’s kitchen supervisor.
“I believe individuals simply consider this place like, ‘Oh they’ve a curler scorching canine and a frozen burger. We inform everybody the meals is chef-inspired, chef-created, and the extra we are able to supply domestically, the higher,” Gailar mentioned.
One such locally-sourced ingredient is the core of The Acres’ All American Burger: a brief rib and brisket floor beef mix provided by Avril-Bleh Meats & Deli. “We tried an entire bunch of hamburger blends, however we selected Avril-Bleh. It was the most effective mix we had had, and being a neighborhood butcher, it simply made sense.”
Fashionable burger joint Zip’s Cafe makes use of a beef mix from Avril-Bleh, however Gailar says the blends will not be the identical, and The Acres burger can also be a special type.
“Our patty is a thinner, smash burger-style patty, and we load up the burger with a thick reduce of tomato, pickle and lettuce and caramelized onions. Then we created form of our personal ‘Acres sauce,’ which is sort of a garlic aioli,” he mentioned.
Retaining with the traditional American theme, Gailar likens The Acres’ French fries to McDonald’s fries – they appear the identical, they usually’re skinny and crispy.
One other signature merchandise is the fried rooster sandwich, made with a 24-hour buttermilk-brined rooster thigh, piled excessive with candy and bitter slaw, pickles, pickled purple onion and garlic aioli. The Tomato Sandwich is a seasonal staple with thick tomato, lemon aioli, herbs, greens and sunflower seeds on toasted sourdough bread. Add bacon or an egg to kick it up a notch.
Gailar says there are nonetheless prospects who come to make use of the driving vary and have by no means stepped foot within the restaurant.
“We don’t have the excitement that a few of these Over-the-Rhine eating places get. So we’ve form of determined it’s a word-of-mouth restaurant. Each week we get new individuals strolling in saying, ‘We heard the meals right here is absolutely good.’”
A full bar contained in the restaurant serves a Rhinegeist-heavy collection of native brews in cans and on faucet. Different choices on the bar embrace craft beers from brewery Mom Stewart’s in Springfield and all kinds of Excessive Midday flavors.
Patrons can order food and drinks from a walk-up window or order inside on the bar. The 11-seat U-shaped bar gives many of the indoor seating. A nook counter with a view of the property gives a couple of extra, however restricted indoor seating means al-fresco is often the best way to go. Employees will convey your meals to you on the out of doors tables. For the current chilly months, The Acres erected a short lived heated tent with numerous seating. Gailar mentioned they’re presently designing a everlasting construction that, together with the kitchen and bar, would have the ability to accommodate occasions and events.
However the present state of The Acres is only the start of Gailar’s imaginative and prescient. There’s nonetheless unused house, together with a beforehand overgrown space that now reveals a bit of the Mill Creek replete with fish, frogs and turtles. And Gailar has no scarcity of concepts for the reimagined property.
Gailar likes the thought of The Acres as a kind of summer time camp for adults. (Although you’ll discover households with children right here any day of the week).
“Should you consider in case you went to a summer time camp as an grownup, what would you love to do? I’d wish to go hit golf balls, play mini golf, sit down by the creek, kayak, canoe, fish – all issues that we might ultimately probably do right here.”
The Acres, 9941 Studying Highway, Evendale. Information: acrescincinnati.com.
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