As a rule, I'm a fan of golf-course cafes. Hearing the click of golf shoes and looking out on the green landscape is very calming to me. Some golf-course diners are great for breakfast, some for soups and sandwiches. The cafe at the Verdugo Hills Golf Course is great for juicy burgers and cold, draft beers.
Tee's on the Green, as the cafe is known, has been recently updated. When the owners got their liquor license, they wanted to do it up right, so in addition to a refrigerator stocked with bottled beers from around the world, they have no less than 10 beers on tap. There are old favorites like Bud Lite, Miller and Sierra Nevada. But there also are more artisanal varieties like Widmer Hefeweizen, Noble Pils and Alaskan Amber.
And what goes better with beer than burgers, dogs and fried things? The modest chalk-drawn menu of greasy-spoon standards on the wall belies the above-par quality of the ingredients therein. Sure there's a Chili Cheeseburger ($5.49), but how would you know the chili is homemade and the beef is ground Angus? Once you taste it, you'll know.
This particular burger is messy, so it comes with a fork to scoop up every tasty morsel of the cumin-infused kidney bean, corn, beef and onion chili. The burger itself is flavorful, the bun is nicely toasted and it comes in a friendly checkered napkin-lined basket. The onion rings ($3.99) are beer-battered and crispy.
My friend got the turkey burger ($4.09), which was moist and juicy with a snappy melted Swiss on top. But the piece de resistance was the fire dog ($5.99), a big all-beef hotdog covered in grilled onions, roasted jalapenos, artfully slathered mustard, ketchup and some kind of spicy sauce. It makes your nose run and your stomach sit up and say "howdy!" It is not for heartburn-sufferers, but we sure loved it. The other sides we tried, zucchini sticks ($3.49) and sweet-potato fries ($3.99) were also hot and crispy, though I like my sweet-potato fries thicker.
The decor at Tee's on the Green is Early Bare Minimum. It's more like a convenience store that sells packaged snacks and beverages with a few small wood-veneer tables and chairs thrown in. There are some nice barstools at a tall counter. The smell of cooking oil permeates the place, but the grill and prep area, which are out in the open, are spotlessly clean.
All in all, it's a bit of a man cave. There's not one salad on the menu. In fact, the only green vegetables are the zucchini sticks and lettuce on the burgers. They used to offer a homemade tuna-salad sandwich, but no one ever ordered it. My guess is that this is not a ladies-who-lunch kind of place, even though many women golfers were on the driving range. My girlfriends and I had a great time, though, playing nine holes on that beautiful, historic course and rewarding our efforts with filling, flavorful fare.
Tee's on the Green serves breakfast (eggs, waffles, French toast) but you may want to call first to make sure the place is open. It closes when the golf course does, around 9:30 each night. The service is very casual, but the young man who does it all (takes orders, cooks, serves and cleans) knows that delivering the food hot and the beer cold is the most important thing.
Lisa Dupuy is a terrible golfer but a good eater. She can be reached at LDupuy@aol.com.
What: Tee's on the Green
Where: Verdugo Hills Golf Course, 6433 La Tuna Canyon Road, Tujunga
When: 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Prices: Burgers, sandwiches and hotdogs, $2.99 to $5.99; sides $2.09 to $4.99; drinks and beer, $2 to $4
Contact: (818) 352-3161