As residents of Boulder Creek, Kelly and Yvonne McGuire often drove past the Trout Farm Inn. It had recently closed, and the “for lease” sign caught their eye.
At the time, the McGuires owned five Subway franchises. When the Trout Farm remained vacant, Yvonne suggested Kelly call and “look into what it would take.”
“It has been our lifelong dream to do something like this, so we seized the day,” Kelly said.
A Remodeling Whirlwind
The restaurant was in need of some tender loving care, and the McGuires didn’t waste any time diving into the task.
It was a whirlwind of activity from signing the lease on June 1 to opening the pool on June 10 to serving lunch on June 15. They now have a full dinner menu and live bands Friday and Saturday nights, and they plan to start serving breakfast by the end of September.
“It has been an exhilarating ride so far!” Kelly said.
On a recent visit, I was impressed with what the McGuires have accomplished in such a short period of time. The restaurant, deck and pool area have really been spiffed up, and an inviting feeling permeates the premises.
The changes so far include thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the entire restaurant, removing the pool tables and moving the men’s restroom entrance to create more dining space, and repairing, tiling and painting the community pool. They also added a new sound system for the weekly live entertainment.
Kelly said many more improvements are in the works, such as new pool-area furniture, a tiki bar, new kitchen equipment and another big screen TV, which will be installed before the kickoff of Monday Night Football.
The McGuires also plan to restore the trout pond that gave the restaurant its name.
Bringing the Trout Back
The history of the Trout Farm Inn goes as far back as 1903 when tourists would come to fish for rainbow trout in the restaurant’s ponds along Zayante Creek, an area that was once a trout hatchery.
The ponds haven’t been stocked for many years, and the McGuires plan to bring this charming aspect of the restaurant back for their customers’ fishing and dining pleasure.
“Repairing the bridge to the pond (cleaned and full of fresh spring water and a family of ducks) is the key to bringing this historic family spot back to life,” Kelly said. “The sooner the better, but ‘when’ is impossible to predict at this time.”
A New Menu Helps Create Memories
The McGuires feel that “good enough never is” when it comes to the food served at the Trout Farm Inn. Starting from scratch, they wanted to create a menu that reflected the history, ambiance and customers’ expectations of the restaurant.
“Because the Trout Farm Inn is such a special and unique place, we believe that the food has to be better than ‘good,’” Kelly said. “Memories are created here, and the food is certainly an important part of that. The Trout Farm Inn is not a pretentious place, nor is our menu.”
Kelly considers himself an amateur chef.
“With five daughters, we have done some serious cooking,” he said.
He’s in charge of the restaurant’s kitchen and has employed what he describes as “a team of highly dedicated people that truly care about the quality and consistency of the food.”
They use fresh, local ingredients as much as possible.
“Our goal is to get to a point where everything is as local as we can get it,” Kelly explained. “For example, right now we serve only Santa Cruz Mountain wines (Trout Gulch Vineyards and Zayante Vineyards, for example) and we’re also very proud to offer two beers on tap from .”
What about that food?
The menu includes a variety of burgers, such as the spicy bacon blues burger (Yvonne’s favorite) and salmon with tequila lime sauce (Kelly’s top choice).
Besides the burgers, which Kelly says are the “absolute best in the valley,” the most popular items are the certified Angus New York rib eye and skirt steaks, as well as fettuccini with skirt steak and bleu cheese.
Kelly revealed the recipe for the pasta: Toss cooked al dente fettuccini with cream and crumbled bleu cheese, and then top with grilled Black Angus skirt steak.
“Very simple, yet so delicious,” Kelly said.
I can’t wait to try this—at the restaurant and in my own kitchen!
Explaining what living and working in this area means to the McGuires, Kelly said, “This is our home. We love the valley and the serenity that surrounds us every day. We feel that we are very blessed to be able to own a place that is as special as the Trout Farm is. It ties us closer to the community that we love.”
If You Go:
The Trout Farm Inn has special plans for Labor Day Weekend.
On Saturday, it will have an adults-only swim party from 2-7 p.m. with games, prizes, music and “some surprises.” Admission is free.
Then, that night, local band Crazy Beard will play, starting at 9 p.m. Kelly said the band has “a great groove. They get people dancing.”
Then on Sept. 11, you can celebrate the end of summer with a free family swim day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kelly said this is their way of “thanking our guests.”
The Trout Farm Inn is at 7701 E. Zayante Rd. in Felton. For more information, call 831-335-4317.