One of the things I love most about Joplin is its abundance of great places to eat. Over the years the local restaurant scene, much like the local art scene, has grown and flourished. Just about every cuisine imaginable can be found in this small city - Thai, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, barbecue, sushi – you name it, we have a local chef who specializes in it. Here on “Foodie Fridays” I will choose a local restaurant, specialty store, or chef to highlight and share some of my thoughts on why I think they are successful and how they enhance our community with their artistry.
|Woody's is cozy any time of the year|
Heidi Chase Williams and I have been friends for about fifteen years now. Our daughters attended the same preschool and high school, and we have had the pleasure of watching them grow up together. Heidi is one of the most delightful, positive, fun, vivacious, and kind people I know – and her husband, Pete, is her perfect match. Their dedication to their family, their business, their community, and fun is the combination that has ensured the success of their restaurant, Woody’s Wood Fire Pizza.
|The famous wood fire oven|
Pete opened Woody’s thirteen years ago after working in the food industry for several years. Initially he wanted to create a “clubhouse for dudes”, someplace comfortable and inviting where people can go and have a drink and maybe grab a quick bite to eat. However, as Pete says, “The minute we opened up, we knew we had something in the menu. We quickly switched our emphasis from a bar that serves some food to a restaurant that happens to have a bar.” The open wood-fire oven became the impetus for such creative dishes as wood-fired wings, the chicken cordon-blue pizza, the Bob Marley pizza, the BBQ pizza, and (my favorite) the Buffalo chicken pizza. The restaurant (which is completely non-smoking inside) reflects the casual, laid-back attitude of its owners, and invites the customer to leave his cares at the door, kick back, and enjoy some amazing food and a cold brew. And, yes, even chicks feel comfortable and welcome in the “clubhouse”.
Pete and Heidi have been known to host a fundraiser or two at Woody’s, donating a percentage of the day’s proceeds back to such groups as Freeman’s Breast Cancer Awareness group and Joplin High School’s class of 2011’s Project Graduation. During fundraisers the restaurant will often “hire” celebrity pizza deliverers and host a karaoke party. It’s a lively place to have dinner and hang out, and the food is always excellent – a perfect combination for a successful fundraising event.
|One of Pete's beautiful glass creations|
Heidi also plans on hosting an art show where they can display artwork by local artists, including pieces by Pete himself. Recently Heidi gifted Pete with a series of glass-blowing classes and Pete has proven both talented and prolific in creating stunning pieces of glass art. He also paints colorful abstracts that have been displayed at Instant Karma during Joplin’s Third Thursday Art Walk. I don’t know if I can recommend Pete’s singing during karaoke, but he knows how to make people laugh, creates beautiful works of art, and the man definitely knows his pizza!
|Artwork by Pete Williams....|
Woody’s also has a portable catering unit available for hire for special events such as birthday parties, company functions, and weddings. They also have a convenient drive-thru window for those times when you just need to grab a quick meal to take home to the family. The lunch buffet, served Monday through Friday, features all-you-can-eat pizza and iced tea for $6.95. The recently updated dessert menu includes wood-fired s’mores pizza, cinnamon rolls, and cheesecake.
Make plans to visit Heidi and Pete and the rest of the fun-loving crew at Woody’s on West 7th Street in Joplin. They are open seven days a week – 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturdays, and 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sundays. Bring your friends and family – the gang at Woody’s will do all they can to make you feel welcome and make sure you have an enjoyable meal!