Restaurant Notes extra: The Lodge at Coyote Creek now Rack and Helen’s Social Club with new menu

Rack & Helen's Social Club's corporate executive chef Maria Wunderlin and owner Wes Anderson have revised the menu in the newly renamed restaurant. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
The Lodge at Coyote Creek is now Rack and Helen’s Social Club and is open to the public. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
You won't find any neon at Rack & Helen’s Social Club at Coyote Creek Golf Club. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
The Lodge at Coyote Creek is Rack & Helen's Social Club now. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
The Lodge at Coyote Creek is Rack & Helen's Social Club now. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Rack & Helen's Social Club owner Wes Anderson stands in a room that can serve as a private dining area. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
(Courtesy of Rack & Helen's Social Club)

The Lodge at Coyote Creek is now Rack and Helen’s Social Club and it debuted a new menu last week.

The golf course restaurant at 4935 Hillegas Road is open to the public and has been owned by the same family as Rack & Helen’s Bar & Grill in New Haven for five years, said owner Wes Anderson, who’s been taking over operations from his parents. However, he didn’t want to call it Rack & Helen’s right away and have people picture the neon lights of the New Haven site.

“People are coming here to be social,” Anderson said.

So Social Club seemed the right addition to the name in the change that started Nov. 7. Working with corporate executive chef Maria Wunderlin it serves comfort food and Southern favorites.

Now with the new menu and the all-you-can-eat fish Fridays (1 pound of never-frozen tilapia served with a chili-lime slaw, pub fries and hushpuppies for $16) “everything but the bread is made in-house,” Wunderlin said.

Wunderlin, who spent 12 years on the road cooking, had dug into her family recipes.

“This is my most personal project as a chef,” said Wunderlin, who grew up cooking in Fort Wayne with her mother.

She’s created the Billy Goat pizza, which is a play on the Swedish meatball with its white sauce and meatballs ($18). The Danny Boy, which includes pepperoni, Italian sausage and peppers ($16) is in honor of her father. She makes sausage in-house based on her grandmother’s recipe.

Her family has been coming so often, “I told my dad, ‘You want us to give you a key?'”

The restaurant added a smoker, and Fort Wayne’s Didier Meats has created a custom burger blend for it.

The menu is giving customers five protein options for its salads: barbecue salmon, chopped brisket, grilled chicken, fried tofu or garlic shrimp.

“We wanted to allow the guest to decide what they want to eat,” she said. The variety and options could be one reason she’s seeing younger diners.

The pick-your-protein option means a lot more vegetarian choices are available, Anderson said. It also has an eclectic mix of appetizers that include hush puppies made with cheddar and jalapeno with a Cajun remoulade ($7) and a dropped biscuit with an orange honey butter ($6) that comes from Wunderlin’s great-grandmother’s recipe.

The desserts haven’t been forgotten. The peanut butter pie has housemade peanut butter cups. The cheesecake fritters “they almost eat like donuts” and come with caramel and strawberry sauce, Wunderlin said.

And all but two things on the menu can be made gluten-free.

The restaurant has a dining room with lots of natural light, a bar with a bar top made from a bowling alley and a room that provides space for about 14 for conferences or a private dining room.

The restaurant has had summertime live music on the patio, but after the first of the year Anderson plans to have 1- to 2-person groups each Thursday.

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