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Established in 1874, Green Cove Springs quickly earned a reputation as the “Watering Hole for the Rich,” as wealthy families from the Northern states would vacation there during the winter months. While all these decades later, Green Cove Springs still proves a draw for “snowbirds” and summertime tourists alike, the city’s year-round population has grown by leaps and bounds. Poised on the banks of the St. Johns River, many residents are drawn to the seat of Clay County for its scenic splendor, rich history, outdoor recreational offerings, and local flavor. One of those “local flavors” can be found at Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Green Cove Springs.

Woody’s Bar-B-Q Makes Its Debut in Green Cove Springs

Located at 1301 North Orange Avenue in the Magnolia Layne Shopping Center off U.S. 17, Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Green Cove Springs first debuted to local residents in 2012. Jeff and Samantha Blackburn were the original franchisees, and they spent nearly a decade building a solid following of local BBQ lovers. Seeing the extraordinary potential of that location, the Woody’s Bar-B-Q corporate office purchased the Green Cove Springs location in 2021.

“It already had a great reputation and loyal following among city and county employees,” said Woody Mills, co-founder and CEO of Woody’s Bar-B-Q. “The fact that there are not many full-service restaurants in Green Cove Springs meant there was room for a lot of growth potential.”

An Array of Attributes “on the Menu”

Among the most popular items on the Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Green Cove Springs menu are the slow-smoked chicken wings, signature baby back ribs, and Texas Beef Brisket. Woody’s VP of Operations, Jay Vail, believes Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Green Cove Springs sells more brisket than any other location in their franchise network.

Besides great food, Jay feels the patio at the Green Cove Springs location is an excellent draw. The restaurant is separated from the St. Johns River by U.S. 17 but still provides fantastic waterfront views. They are contemplating adding more patio space to accommodate more diners who’d like to enjoy their meals with a riverfront breeze. The restaurant’s interior has recently been updated to reflect the brand’s new look, complete with corrugated metal walls, new flooring, and new dining sets. The kitschy wall signage that has been a part of the Woody’s Bar-B-Q brand since its launch in 1980 remains ever-present throughout the restaurant.

Additional attributes of this location include beer and wine service, Wi-Fi, online ordering, curbside pickup, delivery through Uber Eats and Doordash, and catering for events of all sizes.

The Staff is the Secret Ingredient to Success

Of course, what really sets Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Green Cove Springs apart is its dedicated team. The manager – Hannah Hart – has been at the location for five years, having worked her way up from server. Many team members from the front of the house to the back have been on staff for 10 to 15 years. Given that longevity, many patrons are on a first-name basis with the Green Cove Springs staff.

“Our customer base is kind of like Cheers… everybody knows your name,” added Jay. “Our team members create a very friendly, homey, and engaging environment. They offer great service and consistent food. The staff is incredibly invested and treats the restaurant like it’s their own. If they put our 4,000 meals in a week, they MIGHT receive one complaint. We get everyone from school board members to construction workers at that location, and we identify with everyone. The loyalty of the staff is what makes this particular location so special. They know what their customers want, and they deliver.”

Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Green Cove Springs is open Sunday through Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Delivery hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. While the restaurant offers online ordering through the Woody’s Bar-B-Q loyalty app (available for download from the App Store and Google Play) and its webpage, it also accepts to-go orders by phone—call (904) 284-1014 to place your order. For Catering inquiries, call 904-333-5054. The Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Green Cove Springs will happily help you design a crowd-pleasing menu for your event.


KB 11/19/23