The new ownership of Tapawingo National Golf Course will be focusing on diners more than golfers as it gets used to the golf course and banquet facility operation of the club at 13001 Gary Player Drive, off of West Watson Road in Sunset Hills.
The ownership group will have a leg up on the banquet side as it is a well-known restaurant family -- Joe Boccardi's. There are six Joe Boccardi's restaurants in the St. Louis area, including locations at 8556 Watson Rd., Webster Groves, 128 Boccardi Lane, Eureka, 117 S. Main St, Columbia, IL, 127 N. Belt East, Swansea, IL, and the newly opened Fenton location at 958 Brookwood Center. The Boccardis also have a catering and market operation at 4476 Chouteau Ave., St. Louis. The Boccardi family also has a significant interest in The Falls banquet facility in Columbia, IL, which is a popular destination for wedding receptions and other events.
Mario Boccardi on Wednesday explained the family's approach to its new ownership of Tapawingo (It took over Feb. 1). He and his brothers - Ray and Joe Jr. - and their father, Joe Sr., will run Tapawingo, focusing at first on the kitchen. Mario says there will be "a lot of new selections" on the grill menu, including "typical" Joe Boccardi's pizza and salads, as well as such appetizers as toasted ravioli and wings. "We're trying to enhance the food side" Mario said.
The Boccardi family will use it's food experience to also focus on maximizing the use of the Tapawingo banquet operation, hoping to increase its business in wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners and other events that require a catered banquet facility. the club had its first wedding reception under the Boccardi banner on April 20.
One big change, Mario said, is that all of the food for banquets will be prepared at the facility, as opposed to catered in from other sources as had been the practice.
"The first year is more to get our feet wet," Mario said. "There will be no drastic changes as we figure out ways to make (the club) more successful."
The Boccardis have retained the Tapawingo golf staff, including head golf professional Kevin Tiefenbach, as well as retaining the club's maintenance staff, Mario said.
But, back to the food operation. Mario said he hopes to make Tapawingo it more well known as a lunch and dinner destination and that the public doesn't have to play golf there in order to eat there. He wants people in the Tapawingo subdivisions to make the golf club's restaurant another selection on their dinner venue checklist. The strategy also includes attracting customers from Sunset Hills in general, where all of the brothers grew up, and Fenton, where all the brothers currently live.
Will there be more golf tournaments in Tapawingo's future? "We're looking into it," Mario said. A junior golf program? "We'll see," he said.
Mostly, Mario wants one message to come across to those who already are familiar with Tapawingo.
"We'll have the same great golf course," he said. "With the added benefits of the food."
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