Story and photo by Kerry Phelps Dale
Usually the first one to greet you with a broad smile and say welcome to the Middleburg Tennis Club clubhouse is Anthony Pinkard, the man who has been the face and heart of the club since becoming the restaurant manager five years ago.
Though trained as a chef, Anthony prefers the management of restaurants to the food preparation. “I’ll leave the kitchen to the younger people,” he says. Somehow, Anthony glides through the demands of the front end of food service and pleasing customers as if restaurant management isn’t the more stressful of the two jobs.
Going out of his way to satisfy the lofty and little requests from members ( and always with a smile), Anthony makes it all look easy. From pouring the tennis ladies a half glass of wine—over and over—to offering bags of ice to the aging and injured players, to squeezing in one more table for a sold out dinner, he is always happy to do it.
The busiest and most social time at the club is the annual Calcutta tournament held in the middle of winter, when people are looking for reasons to get out of the house. As if food is going extinct, the club swells with restaurant business and the social buzz of the club reaches a crescendo. This perfect storm might cause many to count the days until it was over but not Anthony. He loves Calcutta season. “It’s the best atmosphere because it gets the whole club involved.”
Lobster Night is an annual event at Middleburg Tennis Club. While most staff may not look forward to it, Anthony overlooks the mess that comes with lobster picking. Instead, he said he enjoys the great turnout of members-many who only show up for that dinner.
The new indoor facility that supports all of the youth tennis programs that is separate from the clubhouse and other indoor courts, is great, the restaurant manager said. However, there is one drawback. “I miss the kids. They aren’t over here as much.”
The Virginia native who was born and raised in Warrenton has spent much of his life in the area. He did do a 10-year hiatus in Chicago where he studied and worked as a classical chef. He attended a trade school in Virginia and NOVA, then settled in the field of restaurant management. The father of three adult children is a master gardener who loves to hike and fish on his time off.
Anthony’s take on life is evident in his ever-ready smile.“It’s all about attitude,” he says. ML
This article first appeared in the November 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.