When my mother and I searched for restaurants to try a couple of weeks ago, we thought about getting lunch from Mace Meadows Mountain Grille at the Mace Mountain Golf Course in Pioneer. It was too smoky that day, so we went to Colina de Oro in Plymouth instead. On August 17, the wind shifted a bit, and so I drove up to Pioneer that afternoon to pick up lunch for us after my mother’s daycare baby went home with her mom.
I called Mace Meadows at around 2:00 p.m. and ordered a BLT with a side of coleslaw for my mother and a patty melt with a side of fruit for me. (Curiously, the patty melt is the least expensive burger on the Mountain Grille menu.)
The woman on the phone asked me two questions: the kind of bread for the BLT and how I wanted the burger cooked. Though my mother didn’t tell me what bread she wanted, I figured I couldn’t go wrong by choosing sourdough, and I said medium well for the burger. She took down the information and said that the food would be ready in 10 to 15 minutes. I told her I was driving up from Jackson, so I’d be there in about 25 minutes.
After I ran a couple of quick errands in Jackson, I was on my way to Pioneer. It wasn’t hard to find the left turn lane to Mace Meadows, and I pulled into the Mountain Grille parking lot at about 2:40 p.m. As I got out of my car, I was concerned that I would arrive to find the sandwich and my burger cold and we’d have to put them in the microwave when I got home.
I entered through the double doors and walked through the hallway to the host podium. To my left, I could see the empty dining room. Ahead of me was an entrance to the barroom that had several people eating lunch at tables and a few people at the bar. To my right was the passageway to the back entrance to the barroom and kitchen, and the passageway had tables with piles of papers and equipment on top.
After a few minutes of waiting, a woman emerged from the back entrance of the barroom and I told her I was there to pick up my order. To my surprise, she said that my food wouldn’t be done for ten minutes. I wanted my trip to Pioneer to be productive, so I agreed to the wait and paid my bill.
After 15 minutes of waiting, the woman emerged from the kitchen with a plastic bag filled with Styrofoam boxes. I thanked her for the bag and left. It had been a little over an hour from the time I called in my order to the time I received the food.
The good news was that the food had been freshly prepared and was warm when I got home. Each sandwich came in its own Styrofoam box, and each side came in its own lidded Styrofoam cup.
The patty melt contained an eight-ounce beef patty with sautéed onions, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing in between two slices of marbled rye bread. When I took off the lid on top of the cup of fruit, I found chunks of pineapple and honeydew melon, but I couldn’t see any other fruit.
The patty melt had a good balance of flavors, and I could taste every ingredient without any trouble—even the Swiss cheese. I took a couple of bites of beef from the ends of the sandwich, and it wasn’t seasoned, which is what I like because seasoning can interfere with the taste of the onions and the thousand island dressing.
The rye bread didn’t overpower the taste of the burger, either, but I quickly discovered that it was only very lightly toasted. The good news is that the beef patty was only slightly thicker than the bread slices, and the bread had enough heft that my fingers didn’t push through the bread.
My only problem with the burger came when I discovered the had thick crusts that were hard to eat. I had to eat the crusts by themselves because the beef patty wasn’t quite big enough to cover the area of the bread.
The cup of fruit only contained about a dozen chunks of pineapple and a dozen chunks of honeydew melon. Because I have trouble swallowing, I tend to shy away from pineapple even though I like the naturally occurring bromelain to help reduce pain. But I was happy that these pineapple chunks were pretty easy to swallow. The pineapple and melon were fresh and flavorful, but also tasted like the fruit you find in fruit bowls at your local supermarket.
The Mace Meadows BLT is basic: plenty of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise in between two slices of toasted sourdough bread, with the sandwich sliced diagonally. When my mother started to eat it, she commented that the bread was hard, but when I told her the menu said it was toasted, she said the bread was perfect.
The bacon, however, was too crisp for her taste. My mother prefers some fat in her bacon and so she had a harder time eating it than she expected. Even so, she ate her way through it and said the lettuce and tomatoes were fresh and there was enough mayo spread on both slices of bread to give enough of a tang without overwhelming the sandwich.
When she reached the crusts of the sandwich, she found the crusts to be as equally hard to eat through, but at least she had slices of bacon and tomato to eat with her crusts.
After my mother’s first bite of the coleslaw, she proclaimed it to be the best coleslaw she’s ever eaten. The chunks of cabbage, carrots, and celery were all fresh, but the sauce itself was sweeter. It turned out the reason for that was the chunks of dried cranberries in the coleslaw, and my mother said she also tasted some fresh grapes. She saved some for dinner three nights later.
Mace Meadows does a good job of building sandwiches and burgers. The balance between all the ingredients is good and the food is fresh, though the bread crusts are a bit thick. The side orders were good, with good marks for the coleslaw, though when my mother ate the leftover coleslaw three nights later, she said it didn’t hold up well.
There is an issue with take-out, specifically having food ready when they say they’ll have it. As I waited in the area for my food and looked out the window of the dining room to the course below, I had plenty of time to think about why this happened. Did someone not process my order properly? Did they want to see if I’d show up? Do they have the kitchen staff to serve people in the restaurant and offer take-out? I wasn’t satisfied by having to wait regardless of the answer.
So, our verdict is a flashing green light. Mace Meadows serves good food, but if you want to order take-out to bring back with you, don’t be surprised if you end up waiting longer than you expect.
The total cost for our meal was a little under $21.00.
Want to Try Them?
Mace Meadows Mountain Grille is located at 26570 Fairway Drive in Pioneer. If you’re going east on Highway 88, you’ll see a sign to make a left turn onto Fairway Drive. Once you’re on Fairway Drive, take the first left to enter the gravel parking lot in front of the restaurant. Mace Meadows Mountain Grille serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner for in-person dining and take-out.
However, the restaurant hours differ between the Facebook profile page and the website menu. The Facebook page lists open hours from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The website states Mace Meadows Mountain Grille serves breakfast every day starting at 7:00 a.m.
Call Mace Meadows Mountain Grille at 209-295-8808 to confirm the hours of operation, to ask questions, and/or order take-out. You can also view the menu on their website and get information about upcoming events on their Facebook profile page.
Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.