Jason Follen and Ryan Welborn like to think they know two things exceptionally well.
So why not combine the two? They have. The former Golden State Tour professionals, and best friends have opened Foley’s On the Green – a new restaurant and sports bar at Meadow Park Golf Course in south Tacoma.
“I’ve been all over, and I’ve never been in a community so good in golf than Tacoma,” Follen said. “That stands out to me.”
Follen and Welborn met for the first time in 1992 when they were grouped in a tee time for one of the mini-tour events in Southern California. They immediately bonded. They hung out all the time.
And they, for the better part of a decade, tried to make a living in golf, even playing against the likes of third-tier PGA Tour players Bob Burns, Dennis Paulson, Chris Riley and Paul Stankowski.
It had its ups and downs. In 2007, Follen quit the sport and returned to the area to sell insurance, and settle down. Welborn stayed in California to run a valet business.
But the two always talked about the idea of opening a sports bar.
Nearly two years ago, Follen started researching potential destination spots. The restaurant area at Meadow Park, which had its share of short-stint owners, intrigued him. And when a local catering business wanted out of its lease with the golf course, Follen, 42, and Welborn, 41, had their long-awaited chance.
“(Follen) said, ‘Let’s go do this,'” Welborn said. “So we did.”
Welborn moved his parents and his daughter up from Palm Springs, Calif. last winter to start hatching a business plan with Follen. Neither has a food-and-beverage background, so they brought on Beau Faust as their general manager.
And on Jan. 15, their group won the bid to open up the latest eatery at Meadow Park. It officially opened to the public Thursday night.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served (7 a.m. until 10 p.m.). The menu isn’t overloaded with options, but what they do offer, the food (especially the burgers) is outstanding. They also have a full-service bar.
When summer hits, the two ex-professional golfers plan on lighting up the putting green for night contests.
“We believe in good food, good beer and good service,” Follen said.
Now reclassified amateur golfers, both plan on playing in selection tournaments this summer. Follen is the reigning Brookdale club champion and Tacoma Country and Golf Club runner-up.