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Normanside's restaurant to reopen under new chef

After suspending dining for the winter in the face of declining membership, Normanside Country Club will soon be reopening its restaurant under new management.

The club off of Salisbury Road in Elsmere will be outsourcing its restaurant operations to Panza's of Saratoga Springs, best known for its restaurant on Saratoga Lake. The decision was made as part of the club's plan to reinvigorate membership levels, which have been dealt a blow by the economy.

We're not restaurateurs, so we through the club would be better served, said Dan Byrnes, president of the Normanside Country Club Board of Governors. "We put out a request for proposals, we had many interested parties, and in the end it seemed like they were going to be able to provide the best package."

Despite the change in management, the cuisine at Normanside will remain largely the same, said opening Chef Anand "AJ" Jayapal.

"It's been such a Delmar staple, we want to keep with the traditions," he said.

That doesn't mean there won't be changes, however. AJ plans to bring Panza's well-known salad concoctions to Normanside, along with its sausage making traditions. Expect to see unique items like chicken and apricot sausage burgers on the menu.

Chef AJ, who also served as opening chef at the Albany Pump Station, is the recipient of numerous culinary awards, has appeared on the Food Network and has his own sauce company based out of Delmar, Miss Sydney's Secret Family Recipes.

The Normanside dining room is operating on limited hours now, which will expand when the golf course opens. Given the early onset of nice weather, Byrnes is expecting one of the earliest openings the club has ever had, perhaps before the end of March.

The restaurant is open to the public, reservations recommended. Normanside Country Club is on the Web at www.normanside.com.

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