Gus Gusler loves his alma mater.
So when he was given the opportunity to open a second location of his Players’ Retreat restaurant at N.C. State University’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course clubhouse, he couldn’t say no.
The place will serve a scaled-down menu with the best and most popular dishes from the original Player’s Retreat, a popular restaurant and bar that’s been near the school’s campus since 1951.
The selection includes items such as fresh-ground Angus beef burgers, wings, salads, soups, chili and Brunswick stew, along with The Players’ Retreat’s biggest seller – Mimi’s sausage dip and chips.
The golf course spot, which also has lamb kabobs, hummus, salmon and a Mediterranean platter, plans to add new food and beverage items each week as it moves toward serving breakfast around the start of daylight saving time in early March and eventually dinner.
Gusler said he aims to get his ingredients from as many local sources as possible, including the sausage for the Mimi’s dip that comes from Nahunta Pork Center. He’s also in the process of finding local farmers for vegetables.
“It’s more local and a little higher end than what we do at the PR,” Gusler said. “Most of our steaks are USDA prime, dry-aged beef as well.”
The bar has 12 draft beers, most of which are from North Carolina breweries that include Railhouse Brewery, Foothills Brewing and Carolina Brewing Company. The wine list is an extensive one, with about 40 different wines by the glass, but Gusler hopes to add 60 wines once the place is up and running.
Gusler wants to offer a fine dining menu on Wednesday and Thursday nights, something he does on Fridays and Saturdays at The Players’ Retreat on Oberlin Road.
Prices are similar to the original Players’ Retreat.
The 4,700-square-foot space seats about 150 and can hold about 600 for events. It has an outdoor patio and porch with a fireplace, fire pit and views of downtown Raleigh, and it is a spot that Gusler anticipates will be the setting for affairs such as parties and wedding receptions, many of which have already been booked.
“It’s very nice. It doesn’t look like the PR,” Gusler said.
PR @ The Poole has exclusive rights to food and beverage sales at Lonnie Poole. So along the 18-hole Arnold Palmer course, Gusler has two beverage carts stocked with sandwiches, snacks, beer, soft drinks and coffee. He also has a pass-through window at the turn where golfers can pick up pre-ordered menu items.
The expansion is the first for the restaurant, which will celebrate its 63rd birthday Thursday. And Gusler thinks the new model will work well.
“I love N.C. State, and I will do anything I can to help them,” Gusler said. “And I think it’s a good business decision.”
PR @ The Poole is at 1509 Main Campus Drive on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus.
The menu consists of items such as Japanese pan noodles, Bangkok curry and the company’s best-selling dish of Wisconsin mac & cheese.
Dishes average about $8. Noodles & Company at 2016 Market Center Drive is the sixth Triangle location.
At North Hills in Raleigh, Another Broken Egg Café is expected to open March 3 at 160 Park at North Hills St. ... Vineyard Vines, which sells preppy men’s, women’s and kids’ clothes, flip-flops, ties and belts that feature a whale logo, is opening at the Main District at North Hills this summer. It’s the first Triangle location for the store.