Graystone Grill is a perfect place to visit before or after a round of golf. Find out what makes this place the perfect summer destination.
He loves golf. But as the busy vice president and chef at Giovanni’s and Alchemy, there’s little time for Al Castrogiovanni to play. Even so, he can at least enjoy the golf course atmosphere, now that he operates the food and beverage services at Graystone Grill at Aldeen Golf Club, 1902 Reid Farm Road in Rockford.
Graystone opened last year at Aldeen, one of five golf courses owned by the Rockford Park District. Graystone Grill can be found in the clubhouse located in the space previously occupied by Noonan’s, which closed in 2015.
It was a relatively easy decision for Castrogiovanni.
“I’ve had many opportunities to venture out,” he says, “but the park district does so many good things for Rockford. They’re the heart and soul of our town, from soccer and Magic Waters to the golf courses. It’s a neat opportunity to partner with them. This is a chance to add a country club atmosphere to a golf club.”
The feeling is mutual. “I think Graystone is one of the best things to happen to Aldeen,” says Duncan Geddes, director of golf for the park district. “We’ve had good vendors over the years, but Al and his staff have taken our food and beverage service to another level. The golfers like it, people off the street like it. The addition of Graystone has been a real win.”
Named after the design element featured around the course, Graystone offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, with menu items such as burgers, wraps, salads and craft beers, as well as a few old favorites that are no longer on Giovanni’s menu, like Sue’s angel hair pasta. Catering services are available.
Graystone also features daily specials. On Tuesdays it’s $1.50 tacos; wings on Wednesdays, a fish fry on Thursdays; Saturday steak specials and a Sunday brunch. “We’ve taken the Alchemy flair and added it to country club style food,” Castrogiovanni says. “It’s not as trendy, but it’s fun. We have great sandwiches, wraps and burgers. And there’s nothing better on a hot summer day than enjoying a cocktail with good friends.”
It’s not just golfers who enjoy spending time at Graystone. Castrogiovanni says guests come from across the region for the food, fellowship and fantastic view of the golf course, from both the restaurant and the outdoor patio.
Anissa Kuhar lives in the neighborhood and visits often. “I love Graystone because I don’t have to cook dinner and I can easily walk here,” she says. “It’s my neighborhood restaurant. My family and I have always enjoyed delicious meals, fabulous sunsets, a cozy fire pit after dark, and music hosted on selected Saturday evenings called Live on the Lawn. It’s a great place to gather with family and friends.”
Castrogiovanni worked with his interior designer, Ali Chance, to freshen up the look and feel of the restaurant. They painted, installed new flooring and replaced the tables and chairs. In addition to restaurant seating and a full bar, there’s room for guests to relax on couches and watch TV. “It wasn’t a huge remodeling project,” he says. “We made it feel more like a restaurant, a place where people want to go.”
Graystone is open during the golf season Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Monday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is closed during winter months, but is available for private functions such as holiday and corporate parties.
Castrogiovanni will be too busy to golf over the next few months, but he’s not complaining. He’s got a great view of the course, and is surrounded by people who share his passion for the sport and its beauty.
“I’ve always enjoyed Aldeen,” he says. “We’re lucky to have a facility like this in Rockford. It’s the perfect summer destination.”