When Joe Cain, head golf professional at the Cedars on Salmon Creek Golf Course, and Gordy Jolma, owner of the golf course, approached Mill Creek Pub Owner Russell Brent about taking over the food service operations at Cedars last September, the venture quickly turned into so much more.
“We want this to be a new event center for Clark County,” Brent said. “Not just a golf course, not just catering, not just a clubhouse, it’s going to be an event center where community members can gather and enjoy good food, beer, wine, cocktails and conversation.”
Originally, Brent said the main goal of taking over the food service operations at Cedars was to give Mill Creek Pub, Brent’s restaurant in Battle Ground, an opportunity to extend their catering business, enabling them to cater more events and provide a savings to the restaurant.
“The main goal for us was to take over the food service operations in order to expand the catering,” he said. “We can now do events of 140 people inside, and an additional 75 people outside on the patio.”
Brent and his team, which is made up of Clark County Councilor Julie Olson, who is a food scientist by a degree in microbiology; Victor Jurgens, who works as an IT consultant; DeeAnn Jurgens, COO and CFO; Rob Sanders, chef; Jennifer McDaniel, catering manager; and Eric Ulrich, bar manager, decided to name the new restaurant and event space Chelatchie Crossing Smokehouse & Saloon.
“Since the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad cuts through here, we really wanted to play on the roots of the railroad,” Brent said. “We wanted to tie into those roots, so we used reclaimed barn wood to do all of the walls, we revamped the fireplace, replaced the floors, we have two 10-foot communal tables and a beautiful copper bar top. And we have a 12-foot smoker that came with the deal, so we’re smoking all of the proteins. We have brisket, pulled pork, smoked salmon, meatloaf that has an amazing twist on it, street tacos made with the pork or the brisket …”
In addition to the unique food selection, Brent said Chelatchie Crossing also boasts 16 taps specializing in hard-to-get, heavily allocated craft beers. They carry the standard 64-ounce growlers that can be filled with a guest’s favorite beer, and also have a crowler machine, enabling guests to take home a 16-ounce can of their brew of choice. Brent said the bar’s vintage cocktails are all made with fresh fruit juices that are all squeezed fresh when guests order their drinks.
“And then, Julie’s (Olson) wine, she’s incredibly resourceful and connected with local wineries and wineries from Walla Walla, so we are able to buy direct from smaller boutique wineries,” Brent said. “We’re really developing what I consider a good wine list.”
The next event to be held at Chelatchie Crossing will be Derby de Mayo on Saturday, May 5, 2-5 p.m. There will be a Taco & Tamale Bar, all-day drink specials and a Most Creative Hat Contest.
The golf side of Cedars
The Chelatchie Crossing Smokehouse & Saloon is not the only exciting thing going on at the Cedars on Salmon Creek.
Joe Cain, the head golf professional at Cedars, said there are “tons of amazing things going on” out at the golf course, and the timing of all of the exciting changes is perfect for the direction the course is taking.
“We’re excited to be in the position that we are,” Cain said. “There isn’t really anything out there like us right now. We are looking forward to close to 300 homes coming in here in the next year, and aside from the Battle Ground Community Center, there’s not many venues out there near where we are where we can host events. We are all excited to focus on the golf side, and have a team like Russell’s who are so passionate about the food and the catering and the restaurant side.”
Cain said they really want to showcase that they want everybody to be able to come out and play gold and enjoy the game.
“The owner, Gordy Jolma, is a property developer by trade,” Cain said. “Being out here in Brush Prairie, kind of in the outskirts of Hockinson and Battle Ground, the vision has always been that with homes being brought in, this place that was once a destination to travel to, is coming into its own becoming a community.”
“We have people coming from all over to get that full-blown golf experience,” Cain continued. “A lot of people thing you need to pay a ton of money and belong to a private club for that. There is a way to have a good price point, good food, everything for the entire family to be able to come out and have something.”
When some portions of the golf course were sold for development, Cain said they had to do some redesigning in order to keep the course at 18 holes.
“People heard the word ‘construction’ and immediately assumed that the golf course is going away,” Cain said. “We’re not going anywhere. If anything, we’re modifying for a lot of benefits. We’ve shortened the length (of the course) a little bit, but we’re still 18 holes. We’re trying to provide as much as we can for people.”
The Cedars on Salmon Creek is located at 15001 NE 181st St., Brush Prairie.