It's called a "country club," but it's no longer a club.

In fact, a lot of changes have occurred to the Mahoning Valley Country Club in the past year or so, all intended to appeal to the public.

The restaurant is open year round and features a special kid's menu. The ballroom has been totally remodeled and enlarged. Even the restrooms have a new look.

Golfing is still a major attraction at MVCC, and improvements to make the sport more enjoyable include bringing the golf course back to life, $4 golfer lunch specials, and serious pro shop improvements.

Jeremy Jones, general manager, said of the grounds, "We stress great customer service from the moment you pull up and we take your bags until you walk on the course. The course had a great reputation back in the day, and we're trying to bring it up to that standard.

"Now it's for the public," he said.

The Mahoning Valley Country Club was purchased early last year by Lehigh Gas of the Lehigh Valley.

Joyce Bertrand, former general manager at the prestigious Eagle Rock Resort, has accepted the position of club manager at MVCC.

She pointed out that the ballroom is again open for weddings as well as special events such as anniversary parties, conferences and reunions.

The ballroom, which can accommodate up to 190 people with a dance area and 240 people with no dance area, has new bamboo flooring. All the windows have been framed to make it more picturesque when looking out onto the well-manicured course. The previously clouded windows have been replaced with clear glass.

Bertrand elaborated that the ballroom has new Chiavari chairs – gold in color. There is new china and flatware.

The decorating for weddings and special events is handled by Carol Mattrazzo of Still Creek, Tamaqua.

Tonimarie Macaluso, from Macaluso's at the Lantern in Nesquehoning, caters the weddings and special events.

The Country Club has acquired Robert Middletown of Summit Hill to serve as head cook in the restaurant. He formerly was the head cook at the landmark Costello's Restaurant in Coaldale and Top of the Eighties in Hazleton.

The restaurant, which can comfortably seat 120 customers, is open for lunch and dinners seven days a week and is open for breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Breakfast is served 7 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sunday.

Lunch specialties include sandwiches, salads, and homemade soups. Among the items you'll find on the dinner menu are steak, crab cakes, salmon, and chicken, "all moderately priced," stressed Bertrand.

A special Easter brunch is scheduled Sunday and a Mother's Day brunch will be held on May 8. Reservations are required for these special events and can be made by calling (484) 629-8906.

Bertrand said of the new menu at the restaurant, "It's been very well received by the public. We feel the word is getting around. We had a seafood buffet last Friday and it was totally booked."

Wing nights are held each Wednesday.

A special Good Friday seafood buffet is being held today.

"We're focusing our attention on excellent customer service," said Bertrand.

Also new is MVCC's Web site: www.mahoningvalleycc.com.

Bertrand said there is a bar both inside and outside the main building. Plans are being made to have entertainment on the deck during the summer.

Some landscaping has occurred, making a new fountain installed last fall as the focal point at the entrance. Fish will be placed in the fountain.

For golfers, there were 20 electric golf carts purchased since last year and the pro shop is fully stocked.

The key personnel at the Country Club besides Bertrand are:

Ÿ Jeremy Jones, general manager Formerly with The Country Club at Woodloch Springs and Centre Hills Country Club in State College. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in turf management.

Ÿ Corey Stranzl, golf course superintendent Formerly with Saucon Valley Country Club, and has a degree in turf management from Penn State University. He said both his father, grandfather, uncle, and cousins all have been golf course superintendents.

Ÿ Aaron Mantz, golf professional A graduate of the Golf Academy of America in South Carolina.

(For more information of Mahoning Valley Country Club, visit their Web site at www.mahoningvalleycc.com. Phone (484) 629-8906 for the restaurant or to make reservations, (570) 386-2588 for the golf/pro shop, or (484) 629-8910 for the events line).