After years of restauranteurs failing to turn a profit at the Atlantis county golf course's eatery, some new tenants will try their hand at the enterprise – students in the Ocean County Vocational Technical School's culinary arts program.
County officials announced this week that students at the vo-tech school will take over operations at the Cuisine on the Green restaurant at the Little Egg Harbor course, making the eatery double as a classroom.
"Quite frankly, we have never been able to make a success of the restaurant at the facility," said Freeholder John Bartlett. "We've had bids on it, they go for a couple years, then get behind in their rent, the electric bills. We've served dinner, had banquets, but it never had success as a commercial facility."
When it opens this fall, the restaurant will focus mainly on providing lunch to golfers, Bartlett said. The county was also successful in securing an arrangement with the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission to allow the facility to continue to serve alcohol while the students run it, he said.
Students, golfers and the county government as a whole will benefit from the idea, officials said.
"This will expose students not only to preparing food, but the business end of running a restaurant," said Michael Mangum, county parks director.
The facility and its grounds have recently been spruced up by in-house crews in preparation for the grand opening, including new signs provided by the county's sign shop and landscaping work that was performed by inmates at the Ocean County Jail, officials said.
There was also work done in getting the building up to current codes – beyond the codes required for a restaurant since it technically will be considered a classroom, said Freeholder Joseph Vicari.
Many of the kitchen appliances have been moved to the course from the Lakehurst joint base, where the vo-tech students previously worked, said Vicari.
Mangum said the pub is set to open Sept. 23 with the restaurant portion opening sometime afterwards.