When they lived in Europe, Dick and Truus Davis often visited Dick’s family in Jacksonville. Their first stop always had to be the ORIGINAL Woody’s Bar-B-Q on University Boulevard so Dick could get his BBQ fix, and Woody’s was his favorite. So much so that in 1995 – roughly a decade after they’d moved to the States – the Davises bought their first Woody’s Bar-B-Q franchise in Winter Haven, Florida. Three years later, they purchased Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Lake Wales. Located at 19501 US Highway 27, the existing Woody’s restaurant had already been open for three years and showed great promise. In addition to a genuine love of great BBQ and a handful of years at the helm of another Woody’s Bar-B-Q franchise, Dick brought a wealth of experience in food and beverage sales to the U.S. military. At the same time, Truus channeled her customer service skills from working for the airlines into providing an inviting atmosphere at their newest restaurant. A quarter of a century later, Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Lake Wales is still going strong.
Situated in a Special Community
Although Polk County – where their location is situated – has been designated as the 5th fastest-growing county in the United States, Lake Wales has managed to maintain its tight-knit small community feel. Located in Central Florida, roughly 50 miles southwest of Orlando, the busy season in Lake Wales is in the winter when the “snowbirds” from the north come to stay at their secondary homes. Summers tend to slow down with regard to visiting tourists, but Dick and Truus know they can rely on the support of their local patrons, who have carried them through the last 25 summers. That support has meant the world to them while the restaurant’s main entrance from U.S. 27 has been closed due to road construction – proving a drain on their business. However, the restaurant’s fanbase is happy to find the detour into their parking lot until the main entrance is open once again.
Dick and Truus are committed to showing their support to the community that supports their small business, as well. For example, when a loyal customer lost everything in a house fire, the Davises and Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Lake Wales employees pooled their resources to donate clothing, deliver food, and more. The Lake Wales location is also always happy to donate gift certificates to help with local fundraisers.
Fun Fact: Dick and Truus Davis are the longest-running franchisees in the Woody’s Bar-B-Q franchise system.
Long-Standing Commitment to Quality
In the years since they opened their doors in the mid-’90s, Dick and Truus have remained committed to staying on top of both the quality of their food and their staff. Baby back ribs consistently stay at the top of the list of most popular menu items at Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Lake Wales. The ribs also top the list of personal favorites for Dick and Truus, who also really enjoy the Texas Beef Brisket and classic sliced pork. The dedicated staff they’ve built is what Truus deems an “eclectic” mix. Some team members have been with the Davis family for over 20 years, while others are fresh-faced, college-aged newbies to food service. However, all are hard-working and equally committed to providing a stellar dining experience to every patron who walks through their door. Dick and Truus also strive to make their presence known, with Dick performing table touches to talk to the guests and Truus performing several organizational functions, including setting up catering events.
While the restaurant’s interior is already brimming with southern hospitality, the Davises are planning an exterior renovation, so the outside of their restaurant is a great match for their shiny new soon-to-be-complete parking lot entrance. Aesthetics, excellent food, and a great staff aren’t the only draws to Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Lake Wales. The restaurant also features a drive-thru, partners with DoorDash to provide delivery, serves beer and wine in-store, offers catering for events of all sizes, and hosts several weekly events. Included among them are their very popular Early Bird Specials Mondays through Saturdays, 3 to 6 p.m., All-You-Care-to-Eat Bar-B-Q Chicken special – honored daily, All-You-Can-Eat Ribs special on Wednesdays and Saturdays, All-You-Care-to-Eat Slow Smoked Pork special on Tuesdays, and Kids Eat Free from the kids’ menu when an accompanying adult orders an entrée between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Lake Wales is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Click HERE to view their full menu. Call-in orders can be made to 863-678-1844. To stay up to date on events and specials, like them on Facebook.
Fun Fact: Over the years, Dick and Truus Davis have never hesitated to serve as mentors to up-and-coming franchisees. The future owners of Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Wauchula, Florida – the husband-and-wife team of Jason and Tamra Allgood – were former employees of Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Lake Wales.