Over the weekend, the popular barbecue food truck officially became a restaurant at 2513 S Jackson St. On Friday, Wood Shop BBQ will roll out its full menu, but owner Matt Davis and his staff are quietly serving pulled pork and brisket and mac and cheese bowls to a very excited neighborhood.
The menu of pulled pork, brisket, ribs, links, and smoked portabellos should look familiar to the fans who track down the truck at its various (often beer-related) stops around town. The "Woody," a gut-busting feat of jalapeno mac and cheese topped with pulled pork, pickled onions, and barbecue sauce is on the menu here, too, plus a few more mac and cheese bowl variations. On Friday he'll start selling meat by the pound. Plans for happy hour include smoked sings, fried mac and cheese, and superlative french fries.
The bar takes up much of the space, though Davis points out its prominence is due more to the restaurant's petite size than any grand plan. Eight tap handles pour beer from legit breweries (definitely including neighborhood staple Standard Brewing across the street) and there are more cocktails than you might expect to find at a barbecue joint. And yet the drinks seem at home here—lots of whiskey and bourbon and warm weather–type refreshers, many of them made with house-smoked ingredients, like limes or simple syrup.
"We're geeky as hell about a lot of stuff," is how Davis describes the aesthetic of his new place, where murals on the wall serve as stylish barbecue infographics (a diagram of his Texas-style offset smoker, a map of various states' barbecue cultures). He's a former furniture maker with a degree in wood technology, so pay special attention to the illustrations of trees and the flavor they impart to smoked meat.
Davis and his business partner James Barrington launched the truck back in 2014, with a custom offset smoker (name: Brad Pit) that now looks comically miniature next to its hulking big brother (name: Big Willy) required to fill the demands of the truck, catering, and now the restaurant. Both smokers are stationed in the back of what will soon become a massive patio.
Once the restaurant finds its rhythm, Davis has all sorts of plans: prime rib nights, lamb chops, maybe some goat. He's working on four new sauces, including one made with ghost chili peppers. Right now Wood Shop is open for dinner, plus lunch on weekends. But Davis has some brunch plans in the works that include breakfast tacos, made with brisket and some house-smoked bacon...plus some vegetarian options.