You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy all that the Royal Golf Club’s new restaurant has to offer.
Lake Elmo’s new Royal Golf Club won’t be open until the spring, but there’s no need to wait until the snow melts to enjoy the restaurant inside the newly revamped clubhouse. Named for the late great golf star Arnold Palmer (who, along with Annika Sorenstam, designed the 18-hole course), Arnie’s Restaurant is a classic American dining experience with a wide-ranging menu and family-friendly feel. Open since the end of August, the restaurant is not even six months old and has already proven to be a hole-in-one among golfers and non-golfers alike.
Open Tuesdays through Sundays, Arnie’s Restaurant serves lunch and dinner during the week and serves lunch, dinner and brunch on Sundays. With room for more than 86 people indoors and a 94-seat patio, the restaurant is focused on providing a high-quality casual dining experience. The menus for all meals include a wide range of dishes and feature organic and locally grown ingredients whenever possible. “We see the menu as a classic American steakhouse menu,” says food and beverage director Tony Stoffel. “We have some really great steaks on our menu but also a lot of American fare, and we’re pulling elements from different cultures onto our menu, too.”
Stoffel says that he hopes Arnie’s Restaurant will be a place with something for everyone. Both the lunch and dinner menus include everything from salads to steaks to spaghetti and meatballs. So far, sandwiches have been a big hit among the lunch crowd. “The meatball sandwich is a big thing, and we’ve also got a solid clubhouse sandwich, which we serve as a traditional clubhouse,” Stoffel says. We’ve had a lot of people telling us thank you for not messing with the clubhouse sandwich—we’ve got a lot of good feedback on that end.”
When it comes to dinner, there are plenty of options to choose from as well. “We’ve got everything from shrimp scampi to our Southern fried chicken, which we’ve given Arnie’s name,” Stoffel says. “People also really love our walleye; they keep coming back for it, and it’s been one of our biggest sellers so far.” Entrees range from $15 to $36 and include the Korean-inspired bulgogi bowl, Tomahawk pork chop and salmon Oscar. Of course, since Arnie’s is a steakhouse, you can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned steak, with options ranging from tenderloin to New York strip.
If a more casual meal is what you’re looking for, Arnie’s Restaurant has you covered there, too. The soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers that make up the lunch menu are all available for dinner as well. Stoffel says that the half-pound burgers, all freshly ground and made from 100 percent angus beef, are particularly good. “The burger royale is our house burger, but the grand slam, which has a fried egg on top of it, is my favorite,” Stoffel says. “It makes for a big meal, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Arnie’s also has a full-service bar serving a wide range of beers ($5-7), wines ($7-15) and cocktails ($8-10). Don’t miss the Fresh and Floral, featuring silver tequila, St. Germaine, lime juice and soda water, or the Maraschino, the house Manhattan. The bar has its own menu as well with small plates and appetizers like sliders, mini Coney Island hot dogs and Italian-style egg rolls for those just craving a late-night snack.
In addition to dining, Arnie’s is also open for events and meetings. Right now, more than a dozen weddings are planned for 2018. And although it is unfortunately too cold to dine outdoors right now, once spring and summer roll around, Arnie’s patio will be open for business. It seats up to nearly 94 people and boasts a stunning view of Horseshoe Lake and the first and tenth holes of the Royal Golf Club course. “That’s a great place to watch the sun—it’s just beautiful,” Stoffel says. Come spring, three fire pits will be added to the patio’s lower level, making it the perfect place to sit while waiting for a table or enjoying a post-dinner drink.
And while Arnie’s Restaurant is located at a golf course, you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy all it has to offer; the staff strives to make it open and welcoming to everyone. “We try to keep it very family friendly and family focused. Even though we have TVs in our dining room, and it’s a place where you can come and sit and watch sports, it isn’t a sports bar atmosphere,” Stoffel says. “Our bar only seats 12 guests, so we’ll never have a huge crowd of people sitting around the bar or stuff like that—that helps us keep the family presence.”
Since going to Arnie’s requires a bit of a drive, a meal there is sure to make for a special night out. “We’re a little far away from everyone, so people won’t just come here to hang out and drink—they’ll come here for dinner,” Stoffel says. “I’m hoping this will be a destination restaurant more than anything else, because we are a little bit off the beaten track.”
Right now, the Arnie’s Restaurant staff is keeping things moving through the winter while also gearing up for the upcoming spring and summer. Make the trek and see what the hype is all about for yourself, but you’d be wise to make a reservation—business is booming and is only going to get busier once golf season is in full swing.
Royal Golf Club
The new Royal Golf Club is a state-of-the-art course designed for golfers of all ages and experience levels. Formerly 3M’S Tartan Park, the property was bought by Hollis Cavner, CEO of ProLinks Sports in March 2016 and has been transformed into what is poised to be one of the top golfing destinations in the area. Thanks to the Minnesota winter, the course won’t be open until spring, when the grass gets a chance to grow, but even the long wait is sure to prove worth it.
Although there are plenty of golf courses throughout the east metro, the Royal Golf Club stands out as it was conceived by two of the golf world’s biggest stars. Annika Sorenstam designed the course’s front nine holes, which have been nicknamed “The Queen’s Nine,” and the back nine, “The King’s Nine,” were designed by Arnold Palmer shortly before his death in 2016. But golf director Jim Leary says that’s not all that makes the new club special.
“What’s unique about the Royal Golf Club is obviously that we have an 18-hole course co-designed by two of the most famous golfers of all time. But we are also very proud of that we have a six-hole short course,” Leary says. The smaller course, perfect for both young and beginning golfers, captures the spirit of Royal Golf Club—to introduce people to the game of golf in a family-friendly environment. “We want to get more people playing golf, because right now, it’s such a hard game for someone who’s of a young age to pick up,” Leary says. “We’ve made that six-hole short course so that it’s available to junior golfers, and we’re also trying to use it for adult golfers who are getting into the game. It’s a great intermediate step between the driving range and the 18-hole course.”
In addition to the courses, the Royal Golf Club boasts a newly redesigned clubhouse which houses Arnie’s Restaurant, a fully-renovated golf shop and expansive meetings and event spaces. The 26,000-square-foot clubhouse features three grand ballrooms overlooking Horseshoe Lake, making it a picture-perfect place to celebrate weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or any of life’s special occasions.