Inside Franklin’s Hillview Country Club, a new eatery will specialize in bringing the unconventional together. The decor transports diners to a sleek Napa Valley mountain lodge, while floor-to-ceiling windows offer a view of the rolling greenery of a central Indiana golf course. The menu features seared steaks and fresh seafood as well as unique pub food such as fried pickle chips and “macho nachos.”
Weekend golfers and longtime country club members will eat side-by-side with families out on the town and buddies gathered to share a few pints and watch a game.
The owners of the Scotty’s Brewhouse group of restaurants have partnered with the country club for a new kind of dining experience in Franklin.
Scotty’s Brew Club will combine favorites from the popular brewhouse menu with upscale fare and Sunday brunch. Patrons can fill growlers with Three Wise Men beer, and lockers will be available for regulars to keep wine and bourbon on hand.
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The arrangement is intended to bring an exciting new eatery to the southside while shaking up the traditional country-club feel at the golf club.
“You might come in after a round of golf and want to grab a burger and watch the game with a beer. You can do that here and be totally comfortable,” said Scott Wise, owner of Scotty’s Brew Club. “But you can also come in with a date on a Friday night for steak and steamed mussels, and you can be comfortable doing that here.”
Renovations on the new space at Hillview have been ongoing for more than a year.
Diners approach the clubhouse on the long winding drive, coming up to an exposed timber patio and fire pit burning outside.
The dining room itself has been completely redone. Gone are the dated high ceilings and outdated decor, replaced with natural wood and large timbers to create an atmosphere reminiscent of rural California. A large communal table, cut from a single piece of oak, seats 16 people.
‘Something for everybody’
Modern lighting and a sleek bar play off that more rugged feel. Two spacious patios overlook the golf course, equipped with televisions and heaters for watching football on autumn nights.
“We’re known for having something for everybody,” Wise said. “We’re not the place to go for high-end steaks only or only pasta. You can come in if you have kids. You can come in if you’re in college. You can come in on a business luncheon.”
Since opening his first Scotty’s Brewhouse in Muncie in 1996, Wise has created a small empire in the food industry in central Indiana. By the end of the summer, his Pots and Pans Production company will have 12 locations in operation.
Three Wise Men Brewery offers craft beers, pizza and sandwiches. C3 bar in Bloomington specializes in crafted cocktails and high-level cuisine.
Scotty’s Brew Club borrows from all of these concepts.
“It’s not going to have a full Scotty’s menu. We’ve taken the top-selling burgers, appetizers and pizza and put them on this menu,” Wise said. “It’s just a little more limited, but we’re excited to see how it performs.”
The partnership started when Pete Grimmer, one of the owners of Hillview, started searching for a solution to improve the club’s food and beverage options. He had honed the country club into a top golf destination in the area and wanted to offer an equally excellent restaurant for members as well as the general public.
“Private clubs are notorious for losing money on food and beverage. That’s just not our forte,” he said.
He approached Wise about the possibility of opening a location in Franklin. Grimmer had a space available in the country club but wanted someone with the experience running a large eatery.
‘A little bit of everything’
Grimmer presented Wise with his vision for the space — an upscale bar and dining room that appealed to both the casual and formal diner.
“We’ve always liked Scotty’s restaurants, with its casual atmosphere and a lot of options, good beer and those kinds of things,” Grimmer said. “But we wanted to go a little more upscale, and Scott has had success with that as well.”
The menu picks the best items from Scotty’s other restaurants — its Southwestern tater tot “tatchos,” bacon-bombed burger and gourmet mac ’n’ cheese. Then Wise’s chefs also added non-pub food for those looking for a more elegant dining experience.
“They said they liked a little bit of everything — they liked the brew pub, they loved the pizza, they loved the burgers. But they also wanted some steak and seafood,” Wise said. “We played around with it and made it work.”
The bar will have 10 beers on draft, including Wise’s own Snow Bunny Blonde and Rocky River Pale Ale. Wine also will be on tap, to better keep it fresh. An additional wine list of 20 to 30 varietals will be available to meet the tastes of any drinker.
Grimmer and Wise worked together to install wine or bourbon lockers, where people can pay a yearly fee and keep the wines and whiskey that they prefer available for each time they come in to dine.
Wise will bring his Sunday brunch concept from his other restaurants to Scotty’s Brew Club. An all-you-can-eat buffet will give people the option to make their own omelets, enjoy biscuits and gravy or a selection of doughnuts and bagels.
A Bloody Mary bar will help people ease into their final day of the weekend.
“My wife and I have traveled around and seen some of these things restaurants are doing. Having those kinds of things available to the southside is something that we’ve always wanted to provide,” Grimmer said. “We think the southside deserves this kind of stuff.”
The new eatery also shatters the traditional country club restaurant model. Scotty’s Brew Club will be open to the public, with anyone able to get a table or eat on the weekends.
Hillview members will have special perks, such as preferred seating and reservation access. But the club is essentially opening its doors to everyone with this new venture.
“Usually a country club is members-only. But the Grimmers wanted to do something different,” Wise said.
Scotty’s Brew Club will be the first concept of its kind in Wise’s roster of restaurants. He hasn’t done any kind of project like this before, and the Franklin opening will be an experiment to see if it’s viable in other country clubs.
“It’s definitely avant-garde to open a restaurant in a country club,” Wise said. “But I’ve talked to other owners of country clubs. They’re great at running the golf side of it, but it’s hard to do the restaurant side. That’s where our expertise comes in.”
What: Scotty’s Brew Club
Where: Hillview Country Club, 1800 E. King St., Franklin; the restaurant is in the clubhouse. Entrance off State Road 44 at Milford Drive, going right on Longest Drive and following Country Club Lane into Hillview.
Menu: Casual and upscale, with burgers, pizza and pub appetizers mixed with steaks, seafood and pasta. A Sunday brunch buffet will be held every week.
“You might come in after a round of golf and want to grab a burger and watch the game with a beer. You can do that here and be totally comfortable. But you can also come in with a date on a Friday night for steak and steamed mussels, and you can be comfortable doing that here.”
Scott Wise, owner of Scotty’s Brew Club at Hillview Country Club in Franklin