We’re excited to introduce you to Courtney Barnett, our General Manager at the Clubhouse Restaurant. She’s been working with us since Memorial Day and is doing a fantastic job. We recently sat down with Courtney to learn more about her professional background, her role at Harbor Club, and a unique, fun fact about herself.
Tell us a little about your professional background and what made you decide to join the Harbor Club team.
I have lived and worked in the Lake Oconee area for a while now. I worked at Silver Moon as a captain and then at Lake Oconee Bistro as a lead server. Before that, I lived in Atlanta and worked as an operations manager for Resurgens Hospitality Group. There, I handled things like new restaurant openings, staff training, and events. Overall, I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for 18 years. But I learned about the Clubhouse GM position from Brandon (GM of Harbor Club) and his wife, Jenn. It was a great opportunity, so I went for it. I’m glad I did!
What are some of your primary tasks as the GM of the Clubhouse Restaurant?
There are several different tasks, and that variety is an enjoyable part of my work. But the main things I handle are event coordination, hiring staff, conducting staff training, ensuring the bar is fully stocked, and, of course, providing excellent service to our patrons.
What are your plans for the Clubhouse Restaurant and its menu offerings?
Our fantastic Head Chef, Damion Gallardo, Brandon Matney, and I recently devised some great ideas. Our future menu offerings will emphasize traditional Southern food and a bit of Cajun flair. We plan on unveiling a brand-new menu in January 2024. I’m also working with our wine and alcohol vendors to create a new wine and cocktail menu. I also plan on conducting even more Harbor Club member events and dinners, as well as continuing to execute our annual events, but with some subtle enhancements. Harbor Club’s Wine Club will continue its monthly tastings and dinners. Each usually has a different wine rep in attendance who provides insights into the wine and the winemaking process. The Wine Club is very knowledgeable, and several members are helping to create our new, expanded wine menu, which I also plan to unveil in January.
What do you feel are the main benefits of holding an event at the Clubhouse Restaurant?
More than anything, we provide a more personalized, custom-tailored service. We never hand out a standard catering menu. We sit down, talk, and have you tell us exactly what you want, and we’ll make it happen. That includes everything – food, menu, decor, you name it. If you want our team to wear sombreros at your taco bar, consider it done. We do all sorts of events, including bridal showers, wedding rehearsals, wedding showers, baby showers, golf tournaments, family gatherings, and more. I think people like that we have multiple venue options available… The Stables, Boathouse, Clubhouse, and Pavilion are the most popular. Plus, you can have your event Inside, outside, or both. People like that Harbor Club has very few restrictions, too. If you want to bring your own tables, that’s fine. If you want to bring in your own band, great. There’s a lot of flexibility in holding an event at Harbor Club.
Out of all the dishes made at The Clubhouse Restaurant, which is your favorite? Why?
This will sound strange, but my absolute favorite is our fish sandwich. It’s made from fresh, perfectly cooked cod, so it’s mild and flaky. It’s served on a soft brioche bun with freshly sliced tomatoes and onions. Making a good fresh fish sandwich is not easy, but our team at The Clubhouse Restaurant has it down to a science.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love working with my staff and Chef Damion. I’ve done some hiring, and we’ve got a lot of really good people on our team who genuinely care about their jobs and our customers. I also love interacting with Harbor Club members and residents. They are all very friendly and have provided excellent feedback.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I’m always delighted to see how happy people are at our events. People go out of their way to express their appreciation, which is highly rewarding. The Clubhouse is a major part of our community and plays a significant role in people’s lives. Being that it’s one of the top amenities at Harbor Club, it’s very member-driven, making it a bit different than a typical restaurant, in a good way. It has a really nice vibe that our members and residents truly appreciate.
When not working, what do you like to do for fun?
The main thing that drew me to this area is Lake Oconee. I love spending time on the lake during the summers and especially enjoy hanging out with my friends and family.
Care to share any other interesting, fun facts about yourself?
I love to play poker. I’m an avid member of a big poker league in Atlanta and often play and sometimes even win major tournaments.
There’s one thing for sure: Courtney isn’t bluffing about her work at Harbor Club. We were given a winning hand when she joined our team! We invite you to stop by, meet Courtney, and indulge in top-notch cuisine, impeccable service, and the warm, welcoming atmosphere that sets The Clubhouse Restaurant apart. Whether you’re a Harbor Club member or a visitor, we look forward to serving you soon.