Story and photos by Lauren Halligan
Gloversville – There’s a new cook in the kitchen at Hales Mills Country Club, and he’s ready to impress. Brad Saunders, formerly co-owner of The Rail Yard Restaurant, took on a new endeavor as head chef at the country club’s year-round restaurant earlier this fall, and he’s already changing things up in a big way.
Saunders has entirely revamped the menu, which will be rolling out this December. “I freshened everything up,” Saunders said. That means nothing frozen, nothing from a bag or box, and nothing pre-done, he explained.
“Everything’s handmade – that’s kind of my big thing. I do everything from scratch.”
From appetizers, to sauces to salad dressings, everything is freshly made in house, nothing is bought in. Take the mozzarella sticks for example. Saunders actually makes the cheese himself, hand breads it and fries it to
Anything that isn’t produced on the premises, comes from a local vendors.
“I like the money to stay local and go to small family-owned companies,” Saunders said. All the restaurant’s fresh seafood is from Antonucci’s Wholesale Produce, right in Gloversville. And the meat is from Bowman’s Market, also right in Gloversville. Bowman’s even created a new custom burger grind just for Hales Mills. Burgers now all come on ciabatta rolls with handcut fries.
Saunders has the right idea on how to run a restaurant:
“I just think that we should offer things that you can’t get anywhere else,” he said. “The food should define the restaurant”
With these changes Hales Mills Country Club isn’t just a place to golf, or to throw a party, it’s also a unique and delicious place to eat any day or night of the week.
The new menu features exquisite dishes like wasabi glazed Ahi or a 20-ounce prime cut porter steak, as well as local favorites like chicken and broccoli Alfredo and chicken Marsala.
For fans of The Rail Yard, you’re in luck. Chef Saunders has brought some of his signature recipes with him to Hales Mills Country Club, like the creamy and chock-full seafood bisque made with scallops, lobster, crab and clams. Saunders started cooking 18 years ago, under Chef Bill Thetford at Castlerock Restaurant & Bar in Gloversville. “I worked next to him for five years and he taught me everything he knew,” Saunders said.
“That’s the best culinary school there is, if you’re fortunate enough to apprentice with somebody that really knows what they’re doing,” he added.
From Thetford, Saunders learn the old fashion ways of cooking, including the dedication and know-how to make everything from scratch.
Now, Saunders’ fellow cooks at Hales Mills Country Club, Jeff Mayer, Adam Snell and Justin Peeler, work hard in the kitchen sticking to these traditional values.
As head of Hales Mills Country Club’s restaurant, “My first order of operations was to change the menu and
freshen everything up,” Saunders said. Once that’s done, it’s all about being consistent. “I’m huge on consistency,” he said.
“I want everything to taste the same – and taste great – every single time somebody comes.”
For the winter season, Hales Mills Country Club is open Wednesday through Saturday. Each day brings new daily specials for lunch and dinner. Wednesday is Wing Night. Thursday is Mexican Night from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. with authentic Mexican tacos, chimichangas, burritos and enchiladas, as well as margarita and Corona drink specials.
Prime Rib Specials are a cannot-miss weekly offering, featuring a succulent 14-ounce prime rib with bread, choice of salad, roasted potatoes and vegetables..
Going forward, Hales Mills Country Club has lots more changes planned. The restaurant will very soon begin offering off premise catering in addition to in-house, for parties ranging from 25 to 200 guests. “I’ve always liked doing weddings and banquets, that’s my kind of stuff,” Saunders said.
Hales Mills Country Club is now booking holiday parties, too! For more information visit www.halesmillscountryclub.com, like Hales Mills Country Club on Facebook or call 736-4622.