Recently renovated, Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Ponte Vedra Beach has a new look, owners and an expanded role in the popular restaurant chain.
The restaurant at 226 Solana Road, Suite 1, is celebrating with an open house, “Beach Bash,” from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 12.
Woody’s also has also launched a relationship with its new charitable partners, K9s For Warriors, based at Ponte Vedra Beach, company officials said.
Co-founders Woody Mills and Yolanda Mills-Mawman opened their first Woody’s Bar-B-Q in 1980 in Jacksonville. Since then, they have guided the growth of the chain nationwide to include locations throughout the Deep South as well as the Northeast and Midwest.
The restaurant is well-known for its “legendary melt-in-your-mouth, slow-smoked signature baby back ribs. Woody’s also has a legion of fans for its “secret recipe” barbecue sauces as well as its other smoked meats and comfort food side dishes.
Woody’s sold its first franchise in 1989. Since then, all its franchisees have undergone an intensive six-week training course at the chain’s flagship restaurant, 1638 S. University Blvd., Jacksonville.
The newly acquired corporate store — Woody’s Bar-B-Que of Ponte Vedra Beach — now will be the base for franchise training operations in addition to serving up the chain’s classic Southern barbecue.
As part of the change in ownership, the Ponte Vedra location underwent a $100,000 renovation to reflect the brand design of the newer Woody’s Bar-B-Q restaurants, according to the company.
Mills said corporate headquarters once owned the Ponte Vedra beach location then sold it to a prospective franchisee in the early 2000s.
“I’m excited to say that ‘Woody is back!’ to the good people of Ponte Vedra Beach. We think they’ll be really receptive to the new interior design, as well as the new owners,” said Mills, who’s the company’s namesake.
The site will offer franchisees more of a sense of the interior of their own restaurant because the updated decor includes heavy timber and corrugated metal sheeting accents for that trendy farmhouse feel, the company said.
Mills said the original restaurant on University Boulevard “will always have a special place in my heart, but its kitschy décor is reflective of the past and we want our franchisees focused on the future.”
Although the majority of the interior of the Ponte Vedra Beach restaurant has been changed, the iconic beach scene mural remains the same, he said.
The Ponte Vedra Beach restaurant has one of the few drive-thru restaurants in the immediate area. It also offers delivery. Dine-in service is 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
Teresa Stepzinski: (904) 359-4075