Golf course restaurant reopens

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Las Vegas Optic

The restaurant on the New Mexico Highlands University’s Gene Torres Golf Course reopened last week under a new name and with a new operator.

The restaurant, previously called the 5th Quarter Grill, had been owned and operated by New Mexico Highlands University. It shut down for the season on Oct. 7 and remained closed as university officials solicited proposals from vendors who could lease the space and run the restaurant independently from the university.

Last month, Highlands regents signed off on leasing the restaurant to Juan Ortiz, a Las Vegas native who owns and is the chef at the El Fidel Restaurant. Jessica Grassie, also a Vegas native and a manager at El Fidel Restaurant, is a business partner in the new restaurant.

The golf course restaurant is now called The Rock Tap Room and Grill. It opened for business last Thursday, according to the university.

Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

“We offer a pub and bar-style menu with an innovative twist on food like hand-crafted burgers, sandwiches, soups and fresh salads featuring local produce whenever possible,” Ortiz is quoted as saying in a story published on the university’s website. “We bake our own buns, grind our own meat from local beef and use no preservatives. All the food is made to order.”

Besides leasing the restaurant space, Ortiz is leasing the university’s liquor license.
The restaurant will feature a new eight-tap bar featuring craft beer like Fat Tire and Murphy’s Stout. Beers like Bud Light and Michelob are available in bottles. The restaurant also serves wine and has root beer on tap.

According to university officials, this is the first time the Highlands restaurant, which has been around since 2009, has been leased out.

Under the terms of the lease agreement, the university is charging Ortiz a base amount for lease of the restaurant and the liquor license. But the more profitable the restaurant becomes, the more money Highlands will be make on the deal.
According to the university, the restaurant seats 53 while the outdoor deck overlooking the golf course seats another 50.