Whether you live here or you’re just visiting for breakfast, you’ll hear the “hidden gem” of Pinehurst is The Pinehurst Track Restaurant, particularly its blueberry pancakes.
Tracy Cormier and her late husband Real opened the restaurant at the Pinehurst Harness Track 27 years ago. Real — folks knew him as “Coco” — was a harness racing driver and horse trainer, which is what brought the couple to Pinehurst originally.
“These days it’s so hard to find good cheap breakfast and friendly service, I think that’s why people love it,” says employee Jessica Goins-Taylor. “And for the blueberry pancakes, of course.”
But recently, news surfaced that an out-of-town developer had approached the Village Council about taking over the lease to the Harness Track’s buildings, expanding Tracy’s restaurant, and making several other changes at the historic track. The public responded in an uproar to the proposal, most in favor of preserving the quaint charm of the track. “People have been up in arms over it,” says Cormier.
So the big question: Will the Track be closing?
“I always laugh,” says Tracy, “Anything can be for sale at the right price. But for me to sell the business, it does have to be the right person to continue the legacy.”
Tracy said she’s not against selling in the future to be able to move closer to her daughter, a singer/songwriter in Nashville. “We’re not closing any time soon. We plan to be here for the U.S Open next year, we have no active plans to sell right now.”
Glenn Hartman, the Track manager and Cormier’s brother, says, “The relationship between my family and the Village of Pinehurst has been great. We’re in our 27th season now. With one tenant the whole time? That’ll probably never happen again.”
Tracy leases the building from the village, so if she were to sell, it would be her business, not the building. However, if someone were to buy all of the barns like a Chicago real estate developer proposed doing, that could be a different story.
“I was a bit blindsided by the proposal. I didn’t realize he was interested in all the barns. Why change something when it works? Training centers like this are few and far between these days, I wouldn’t change the beauty of this place,” says Tracy.
Reflecting on her years with the restaurant, she says it’s been on TV and in magazines for the blueberry pancakes. “The village has been a wonderful landlord to have this whole time,” she adds.
To say the restaurant has a loyal customer base among regulars would be an understatement.
“It’s been our favorite place for 23 years, there’s a friendly atmosphere,” say regulars Nancy and Doug Schmidt.
“It’s a wonderful mix of golfers, horse people and the public,” says Terry Johnson, “I’m a former racing commissioner from Delaware. I’ve been coming here since 2003. This place suits me to a ‘T.’”
The harness track is on the National Register of Historic Places. The sustainable reuse plan proposed would also need to be approved by the Village of Pinehurst council before any changes were made to the harness tracks or the Track Restaurant.
For now, the public can continue to enjoy the hospitality — and blueberry pancakes. Just don’t forget to bring cash.