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The Club Car Grille Arrives in Irvington

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May 17, 2024

By Shana Liebman–

On May 16, the much-anticipated Club Car Grille officially opened in the former River City Grille space in Irvington.

By 5:00 p.m., the restaurant (which seats around 70 in the dining room and 25 at the bar) was bustling with enthusiastic diners – many of whom were River City regulars. In fact, the new restaurant feels like a slightly more refined and modern sequel to River City.

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Owner Matthew Kay, who also owns the Hudson Social in Dobbs Ferry, says he that when he took over the space, he kept many of the same waiters and kitchen staff and made very few structural changes to the space (which was once a 1900s train car). “We only made minor cosmetic changes,” he says, which included renovating the wood floors, painting the walls dark blue, and adding train-themed decor (i.e. pictures of railroad tracks and old photos of club cars.) Also, the bar area, which once felt like an extension of the dining room, now has a more distinct, clubhouse feel with wooden tables, a leather banquette and a larger, natural concrete bar.

Polenta bites with smoked paprika aioli

Kay says the new spot is “a classic American grill serving steak, seafood, and chops.” The emphasis on seafood — from a raw bar to dishes like bouillabaisse, steamed mussels and a lobster roll — is an homage to Benny’s, the original restaurant in this location that opened in the 1940’s.

The Tagliatelle

Kay also notes that the menu, designed by executive chef Michael Wendt (who recently worked at X20 Xaviers on the Hudson), “is a little more fine dining with more local, seasonal ingredients,” including the ramps Wendt personally foraged to make the ramp pesto for his tagliatelle. Most entrees ($24 to $38), however, are fairly standard: burgers, roast chicken, pastas, prime strips, and rack of lamb. In other words, there’s something for everyone, from a fried calamari starter to a garden salad topped with your choice of protein to a fantastic flourless chocolate cake. The sole holdover from River City Grille’s menu are the delicious fried polenta bites served with aioli.

The Club Car Grille is now open nightly for dinner and also offers brunch on the weekends, a happy hour (with $2 oysters), and a more casual bar-only menu.

The bar

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