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The story behind Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Palatka, Florida is an inspiring one – founded in the aspirations of its owner, Justin Howell. Its doors opened to hungry throngs of BBQ lovers in Putnam County in 2001, but Justin came on the scene in 2018 when Woody’s founders – Woody Mills and Yolanda Mills-Mawman – put the restaurant up for sale. They knew that by selling it to Justin, it would be in exceptionally good hands.

From Dishwasher to Proud Owner

Justin got his first job at 15, as a dishwasher for Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Macclenny. He learned every inch of the business from franchisee, Fred Rhoden, and rose through the ranks to General Manager. All the while, Justin dreamed of owning his own Woody’s Bar-B-Q one day. When the Palatka location became available, he didn’t hesitate to go all in.

A Culture of Family and Friendship

Today, he models his management style by treating his employees and customers the way he would want to be treated – like a family member or good friend. That approach has won him both loyal team members and a large local following. As a matter of fact, his favorite thing about his job is the relationship he has fostered with his employees.

“My team is the best group of friends you could ask for,” said Justin. “We make our customers feel like family. When many of them come in, we know every member of the family by name, and we know their favorite orders by heart.”

He believes that culture of family and friendship – along with a large menu of BBQ favorites – is what sets Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Palatka apart from the competition. The warm and welcoming atmosphere – recently renovated during the pandemic – adds to the experience.

A Blend of Food and Fun

And speaking of menus, it’s a tie between the Signature Baby Back Ribs and Texas Beef Brisket for most popular menu item at Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Palatka. But for Justin, it’s all about the Prime Rib Sandwich, featuring a slice of grilled prime rib between two pieces of garlic toast. He believes his restaurant is the ideal fit for the citizens of a great historic town like Palatka and Putnam County because it brings back that classic Southern BBQ – cooked onsite. His location also offers full-service catering for events. Beyond great food, the location hosts a popular Trivia Night on Mondays, Kids Eat Free Nights* on Wednesdays, All You Care to Eat Sliced Pork on Saturdays, and a Car Show the last Saturday of every month.

A Great Way to Say Thank You

Justin believes the best way to show his support to the community that supports his restaurant is through a series of rotating specials and discounts for military, seniors, students and first responders:

  • 25% MILITARY DISCOUNT with valid ID on regularly priced items
  • 10% SENIOR DISCOUNT with valid ID on regularly priced items
  • 10% HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES with valid ID on regularly priced items
  • 10% COLLEGE STUDENTS with valid ID on regularly priced items
  • 25% UNIFORMED OFFICERS on DINE IN or TAKE OUT for regularly priced items
  • 25% UNIFORMED FIRE FIGHTERS with valid ID on regularly priced items

Located at 110 South State Road 19, Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Palatka is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for dine in and take out. The restaurant also delivers items from its menu via Doordash. To place an order for pickup or schedule a catering event, please call Justin and his team at 386-385-3234. To stay connected with Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Palatka and learn about their latest specials, be sure to follow them on Facebook!


KB 5/31/22