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On the Go (Archive)

Top Golf celebrity chef tees up new world of flavor in Wood Dale

Wood Dale, Ill.

From simple dishes to gourmet signature items, TopGolf’s Executive Chef Mark Boyton is putting his celebrity chef stamp on the playfully reinvented menu.
From simple dishes to gourmet signature items, TopGolf’s Executive Chef Mark Boyton is putting his celebrity chef stamp on the playfully reinvented menu.

When someone mentions TopGolf, Executive Chef Mark Boyton wants food to spring to mind as much as the allure of high-tech golfing. The British-trained Boyton, one of the team of chefs engaged to travel to Ireland for the wedding of soccer star David Beckham and Victoria Adams (aka Posh Spice), just introduced a new menu at the Wood Dale attraction.

It’s the sole Midwestern location of TopGolf, where a 240-yard outfield is embedded with dartboard-like targets, and microchipped golf balls electronically keep score. TopGolf includes food and drink service at climate-controlled bays for all-age players, as well as full-service restaurant and bar.

Boyton, formerly a private chef to millionaires and billionaires, joined TopGolf three years ago, beginning in the United Kingdom where the business was born, before moving to the Chicago area to reinvent the U.S. menus.

“I worked in St. Tropez and Miami,” he says. “I brought a spectrum of background and of food styles. TopGolf (has) given me the creative freedom to take it to the next level. My remix of the menu was to bring the fun back into the food — challenging the boundaries. We’re raising the bar (to) make the food as good as the game.”

He says he embraces the trend of “sharing-style meals,” recommending guests select appetizers to split, such as the paddle of wings. He has introduced chicken and waffles, as well as Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Brisket Chili. In its preparation, the bourbon is reduced with merlot, infusing the meat with “real barrel-aged flavor.”

Most everything is prepared from scratch in-house.

“We moved away from pizza (to) flatbreads,” Boyton says. “Light, delicious, you can play with flavors.”

Among them are provolone and pesto; Southwestern; pepperoni and sausage; smoked chicken and apple; and farmhouse goat cheese, pickled red onion and arugula.

“The other star of the show is our burger,” he says. “It’s a really unique blend of ground Angus chuck and short rib — you’re getting the full flavor of the rib.”

Newly offered are weekend brunches Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays.

Boyton hasn’t neglected dessert, noting a popular sharer is the sticky toffee pudding, a moist brown sugar sponge cake with butterscotch sauce. And he puts the toque on the guest with injectable donut holes — cinnamon dusted and served with chocolate- and raspberry-filled syringes, letting patrons complete their treat.

Boyton is expanding the wine selection and launching some new beverages, such as a fish bowl cocktail, meant for four to share with long straws. He says after dark, the atmosphere shifts to night club.

The new menu already has fans.

“TopGolf’s menu has always been great, but there are new options that are perfect for sharing with the group,” says Neil Lauer of Wood Dale. “They also make one of the best burgers around.”

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