Hot Stove at Cranberry Valley

An open letter to our members

The Hot Stove at Cranberry Valley looks forward to opening (April 6th) for the 2017 season and hopes all of you, as well as your families and friends , had a happy and healthy off-season. This message is to give members a rough idea of what the Hot Stove at Cranberry Valley experienced in their first year and what to expect in our second year. Whereas the restaurant belongs to all Harwich tax payers we feel some obligation to do so.

Successfully operating a seasonal golf course restaurant was every bit the challenge we expected. Our first two months and the last one were grim. However, the time in between was encouraging. Breakfast grew steadily and we have established a modest crowd of regulars. Hopefully, our lunch patronage will also grow. Nearly all of our guests including non-golfers were pleased. Roman and his crew were essential to getting us familiar with how we and the pro shop work together for the common goal of making every member proud to belong to this beautiful golf course. They have offered their knowledge, advice and encouragement. It was appreciated and we are sure it will continue. We met great people in 2016 and some strong friendships resulted. It was a terrific experience for the staff and a summer that we will not forget.

We have spent some of our off-season making minor changes to the operation to make it better for all of us. History has shown that the first year of a new restaurant is the toughest. It’s true. Thank you for your patience as we recognized our mistakes and made the necessary corrections as best we could. We learned a great deal in 2016 but really couldn’t find time to make many major changes. Perhaps the most important lesson is that patronage by local non-golfers will be essential for our success. While the loyalty and support of members has been excellent and appreciated we will have to get the public to frequent the Hot Stove at Cranberry Valley through some extra spring advertising and by all guests, especially members, spreading the word. We are confident that most guests will return. If each member can invite one friend or family to give us a try we are sure we will be around for a long time.

We did many functions in 2016 and most of them went well. Again, we learned and they will get better. The support by the Ladies and Mens Leagues increased weekly. The Thursday Night Twilight League was a big help and a lot of fun, even for those that did not golf but attended the aftermath. The Sunday Scrambles went well after we could get an estimate of the golfers attending. It required that we stay open for them after the vast majority of guests/golfers were gone. We will work to find a way to address this minor problem.

Kids sitting at the bar was a momentary issue once last season. The decision to allow it is at the discretion of the Liquor License holder. We will allow them at the bar when accompanied by an adult. We have done so for breakfast periodically. In 2017 we will discourage kids at the bar after 12:00. It will be up to the bartender based on circumstances. For instance, if there are no tables available we will certainly allow a family to sit at the bar.

Our first year included the following obstacles

Expense and labor

Overcoming a less than satisfactory reputation for consistency by previous management




Operating Hours

Service Limitations



……….The restaurant, though not real old, has not been maintained over the years. Neglected areas included dining room paint and carpet, kitchen equipment, insufficient electrical availability, lighting, deck furniture, and more. The town has designated annual funds to be put towards restaurant maintenance. In addition, they purchased two electric convection ovens to allow plenty of cooking capacity and dependability.
……….The kitchen may not have been designed by restaurant experienced people. Some of the equipment is outdated and required periodic repair. The biggest design flaw was not including a walk-in refrigerator. The town purchased one which was operational in early July. Until then we had nowhere to keep back-up beverages cold, and limited our menu due to lack of refrigerated spaces. Another issue is the absence of natural gas for the grills, fryolator, etc. Propane must be used and it’s known for producing excessive carbon which leads to periodic maintenance and shorter equipment life.
……….As you may know, the current septic systems limits us to 55 guests unless we use paper/plastic plates. This is a nuisance. Some items, especially those served at functions, are not done justice when served on a disposable plate.
……….During short golfing days (April, May, November) the kitchen closed earlier than during the summer. This made it difficult to have hours available for the kitchen staff as well as servers. This naturally led to an employee or two seeking other employment.
………. When weather eliminated or reduced business employees had to be paid something. They have bills and expenses like all of us. Fortunately, this was not an expensive issue in 2016.
……….In order to have qualified servers we were obligated to pay a fair wage as opposed to the standard $3.65 rate for tipped employees.
……….It proved difficult to find employees willing to work such early/odd hours, at a start-up, seasonal, golf course restaurant with a 55 seat capacity.
……….With few exceptions, we have maintained consistency with hours, service and product.
……….A lot of each was required to transform what was there into a restaurant. I personally underestimated the work that would be involved.

Improvements made to the restaurant at our expense included:

Installation of glycol draft beer system, 24"propane fueled griddle, 36"updated flex hoses for all propane appliances,14’ counter for Grab ‘n Go Line, refrigerator & ice machine for Grab ‘n Go Line, 48" & 72" sandwich unit refrigerators, 20’ of stockade fencing to isolate server station, 36’ of stainless steel wall shelving, 42" high bar rail/divider in dining room, three terminal Point of Sale system, glass chiller, 5’ bottle chiller, 5’ bottle chiller, three station phone system, hot water dispenser, 30’ of stainless steel floor shelving, one upright freezer, one chest freezer, office copier, 10 dining room bar stools, four dining room tables, three table bases, brass hardware for bar, 6’ X 8" shed for storage of empties and beverages, dining room hanging lamps, six 110 volt food warmers, roll warmers, two high chairs, ten deck stools, two deck cocktail tables, ten deck bar stools, propane grill for deck, mahogany bar rail for deck, 110 volt outlets for Grab ‘n Go Line, 220 volts to server station for coffee maker, track lighting for server area, five HD televisions, sound system, various appropriate framed pictures, and many more lesser items. And a lot of labor.

The majority of the above items is essential to operate a restaurant and should really be owned by the Town of Harwich so that the next group to have the pleasure of running this restaurant won’t have to go through what we did. We may be submitting a formal proposal to the town for reimbursement for items that will help make the property more of a turnkey operation. If the necessary equipment is purchased by the town a new tenant will have no problem opening in a short period of time. Doing so would likely help eliminate a disruption in service to golfers when the next tenant takes over.

This is important since the current procedure for the RFB/Bid Opening (mid-January for us) does not leave much time for opening in April. Also, the current lease runs from April to April. This, too, should be modified to avoid the possibility of a disgruntled departing tenant from preventing the new tenant from occupying the premises until April thus allowing no time for the opening process. Fortunately, Mr. Philbrick allowed us into the building to get started immediately after the January bid opening.



Changes we will be considering for 2017

A breakfast buffet at the Grab ‘n Go Line may be attempted for one or two mornings a week. It would consist of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, corned beef hash, sausage gravy, toast, muffins and juices. Menu items would also be available.

A machine to offer frozen drinks for the restaurant, and the carts, as an alternative to beer and mixed drinks.

The hospitality cart driver will have a phone so golfers may contact it while on the course. We ask our members to realize that this service could lead to a problem when a golfer requests the hospitality cart come to their location on the course. Enroute to the location the hospitality cart is obligated to stop for any other golfers requesting service. This could delay the arrival at the requested location.

Regarding the hospitality cart….If the cart is in sight and you need service please make it clear to the driver by waving your arms. The cart engine makes it difficult to hear anyone yelling.

We will try to move the deck soda machine to the starter’s shack so it’s more convenient.

Repair or replace the deck doors with ones that have door closers and manageable locking devices.

Look for a better use of the steps-to-nowhere on the eastern deck.

Replace floor air conditioning registers with ones that can be adjusted/closed.

There will be some modest and necessary price increases that will still keep us below the average prices for the surrounding area’s comparable restaurants.

We will make it a policy to provide complimentary pizza and appetizers whenever the Patriots are playing at 1:00 in September, October and November.

We plan on installing a TV on the eastern deck adjacent to the exit door, and to provide some additional seating in that area.

We will open for breakfast at6;00. At 5:30 coffee and pastries will be available.

The kitchen will remain open until 7:00 on Thursdays. Closing time on other days will be determined by weather and the number of guests. We hope to eventually have a set schedule for closing. We will try to make our closing time more consistent as we learn what is best for employees and guests.

We will do our best to make the Hot Stove at Cranberry Valley the best clubhouse restaurant on Cape Cod.

Ron Leidner


Cranberry Valley
Rated #5 Public Golf Course and #4 Best Driving Range for 2016 in New England by New England Golf Monthly

Best Golf Course

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Cranberry Valley Golf Course •  183 Oak Street Harwich, MA 02645 • 508-430-5234