When the new Sparky’s Grill at the Como Golf Course Club House opened in June, the event went virtually unnoticed.
A green sign featuring the beloved Como Zoo sea lion popped up at 1431 N. Lexington Parkway, to alert passersby to the new establishment, but for a while only those who regularly golfed at the course discovered that what used to be a simple concession stand is now a sunny restaurant with one of the best views in the city.
Site manager Don Siggelkow hopes the news gets out and Sparky’s becomes a neighborhood hangout.
“We want golfers and non-golfers alike to feel welcome here and bring their families to enjoy our food and these amazing vistas,” Siggelkow said. “This is the best location in town.”
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Looking out the massive windows onto the lush grounds of the golf course, one might agree. The rounded veranda overlooks ponds, weeping willows and a carpet of green punctuated by tiny flags. Golfers stroll past, and fountains gently dance beneath. While the gorgeous setting was always there, it wasn’t until Prom Catering took over managing the property earlier this spring that the modest concession stand morphed into a full grill, offering items such as burgers, Mahi Mahi tacos and pizzas.
“Upgrading the food service was our main priority,” Siggelkow said. The City of St. Paul still owns the course, but Prom Catering, an Oakdale-based event-management and food-services company, was hired in January to manage both the Como and Phalen golf courses in an attempt to make the courses profitable.
“The golf course industry is declining,” Siggelkow said. “We needed to find a way to generate more income and make Como Golf Course a destination for people around the metro. We really want to keep this wonderful golf course going.”
“People think it’s a private facility just for golfers and skiers, but it’s for everyone,” he continued. “Think of it as a public park, with a great restaurant.”
In order for the restaurant to be as much of an attraction as the course, Sparky’s Grill has Caesar salads, veggie burgers, BLTs, mac and cheese, and chicken wings. Sparky’s also has a full-service bar with tap beers, wine and liquor. It also offers coffee and breakfast sandwiches for early birds getting in a few holes or a ski run before work. The upper level of the clubhouse, complete with a wood-burning fireplace, is available for special events such as wedding rehearsal dinners or business meetings. Events can be catered by the grill downstairs or by Prom Catering out of its Oakdale facility, which offers a larger menu.
Siggelkow said the menu will continue to expand, with comfort food dishes added in the winter for skiers and sledders—and the views through the clubhouse windows are just as beautiful in the snowy months.
Alex Lodner is a freelance writer who lives in the Como Park neighborhood.