One of the most rancorous city council decisions this year involved the award of a liquor license to Leslie Park Golf Course instead of a host of private businesses that had applied for it. One applicant, the Kerrytown eatery Everyday Cook, has since closed. But the results at Leslie are “fantastic,” says Cheryl Saam, recreation facilities supervisor for Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation. “More people are hanging out here after they play.” Compared to last year, food and beverage sales were up 157 percent in July and climbed 256 percent in August. Golf rounds are up, too, Saam says: by 40 percent in July and 85 percent in August, compared to 2007.
A beverage cart now tours the course, and on weekends a new outdoor grilling station serves burgers, brats, and hot dogs. The clubhouse’s eating space, though small, boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound patio overlooking manicured greens framed by wooded parkland where red-tailed hawks have recently taken up residence. Saam says that over the winter the city will replace the carpet and move the registration counter, giving diners an unobstructed view of the course.