An Entirely New Dining Experience Awaits At The Clubhouse At Palm Beach Polo Innovative Cuisine

An Entirely New Dining Experience Awaits At The Clubhouse At Palm Beach Polo
Innovative Cuisine

As the equestrian season kicks into high gear, so does an entirely new experience at the Clubhouse at Palm Beach Polo & Country Club, including a freshly created dinner menu and a themed outdoor dinner series throughout the restaurant’s charming surroundings for all to enjoy, whether a seasonal equestrian or a year-round resident.

“It’s a beautiful location in Wellington that not only allows you a beautiful venue, but beautiful views. In our new menu, we’re focusing on new things to present to people based on what they loved in the past and what we wanted to feature,” owner Sheila Motley said.

Motley and her husband Chef Mat Allen are back open for the season and ready to jump into a new adventure, with bold innovative dishes and a variety of new wines, all soon to be unveiled.

“We’re very excited for this outdoor dinner series, because we can really do some fun new themed nights and get people out around the property they maybe haven’t seen,” Motley said. “Our beautiful pool overlooks the sunset. We have great grass pads down by the driving range and the front of the building. What everyone wants to do in Florida is be out on the beautiful balmy winter nights, and we want to make more use of that than we’ve been able to in the past. I’m looking forward to it, and I think it’ll be a way to give people something to look forward to.”

The plan is to launch the series with several themes a month, including al fresco events poolside, on the front lawn, or on the upper terrace overlooking the golf course, as well as a regular dinner service. All with social distancing in mind.

“We want to really highlight safety and people being outside. The inside of our restaurant is scaled down, even though regulations have opened up, with less tables inside,” Motley said. “I’ve made an additional private dining room, so we’ve been able to build out our terrace and offer these other outdoor dinners to supplement the opportunity for people to safely be able to go out and dine. And we still offer our to-go meals as well.”

The number of indoor tables may be scaled back, but the elegant ambiance remains throughout the property and all its rooms.

“We made some small changes to our lunch menu,” Motley said. “We kept a lot of the favorites. Our lunch business is focused on people who come in after riding or who are out on the golf course. It’s certainly a smaller group of people, so the lunch menu is fairly small, but I think it hits all the marks of what people are looking for.”

Classic American cuisine is featured, like the tuna salad sandwich with roasted fennel and lemon aioli, or the polo burger with white cheddar and tomato jam.

The roast chicken on a bed of romaine lettuce topped with feta, corn, tomato, cucumber and white balsamic vinaigrette is a favorite. For something new, try the grilled chicken sandwich with herb mayo and fresh avocado.

“It’s the flavors and styles people really look to,” Motley said “It gives them comfort, and they enjoy the experience. That’s why we love inviting people to our venue. Come enjoy great food and company, an escape for that hour of the day.”

It’s an escape with flavors that are all creations of Chef Mat Allen, who hails from England and is classically French trained. He even once worked for the Queen of England and the Royal Family at Windsor Castle. Motley, an accomplished event planner for 20 years, combined their passions, including her love of all things equestrian.

“It has been a nice place for us to base, and we’re so familiar with the equestrian community here, it’s like we’re having dinner with our friends and family every night,” she said.

Motley grew up coming to Wellington as a young girl in the mid-1980s. Her parents were horse owners.

“It was the best of all childhoods, and I still ride,” she said. “So, it’s great — all familiar faces. I see people in the day, and they ask me for a reservation at the horse show or at polo, and then they come in at night. That’s what I always loved about Wellington, even as it has grown, there’s a community feel.”

It’s the community that’s so important to them. They now live here full time with their 9-year-old son Collins. After running the Patio at Polo for three years, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take over the Clubhouse at Palm Beach Polo last year, marking their first season there.

However, after the equestrian season abruptly ended due to the pandemic, so did the Clubhouse, until the fall. But the meals never stopped. The husband-and-wife team continued to spread their love of food to those greatest in need by partnering to help feed the homeless with the nonprofit A Different Shade of Love.

“We worked with the group at a park in West Palm Beach to support the homeless,” Motley explained. “We were delivering breakfast three times a week where different vendors were donating food. It was great. We’d make it in the morning and deliver it ourselves. We got to see the people who were affected and able to see their needs. It made a difference for us to be able to give back, especially in the beginning when everything was shut down.”

With much back open now, Motley is hopeful many equestrians will return this upcoming season.

“I don’t think anyone wants to stay in the cold weather. I’ve been lucky to take part as a judge at a few of the small horse shows that take place in the fall, and they’ve been managed expertly and run beautifully, and we’ve felt safe with the temperature check and all of the staff keeping people distanced,” she said. “I’m very hopeful that everyone can flourish in a safe environment this winter.”

And if you visit Motley at her restaurant, it will be a winter filled with a renewed excitement to bring the community back together to enjoy camaraderie, cuisine and all things equestrian.

The Clubhouse at Palm Beach Polo & Country Club is open to the public and located at 11630 Polo Club Road in Wellington. It is open Tuesday through Sunday with lunch service from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner service from 5 to 11 p.m. For reservations, call (561) 660-3300 or visit