LUMBERTON — Barbecue enthusiasts have another choice to look forward to when Woody’s Bar-B-Q opens next month.
A year ago, husband-wife team Jason and Wendy Olsen intended to open the restaurant in Fayetteville, where they live. Six months ago, they changed their minds.
“Woody himself came up and looked around,” said Jason, referring to Woody Mills, one of the company’s founders.
The Olsens were presented with different opportunities during negotiations with a landlord, and Jason said they “really felt like the Lord was telling us ‘you’re going here.’”
“Here” is the former Nelson’s Barbecue location at 4880 Kahn Drive, next to Golden Corral.
“I also know a lot of people in Lumberton and Bladenboro, and they are happy about the location so they can come and support the new business,” Jason said.
Mills, who founded the company with Yolanda Mills-Mawman 36 years ago, said on Thursday the location is ideal, and the proximity of other restaurants can even be a plus.
“We were looking at Fayetteville originally. The Olsens found this location and I went and looked at it. I liked it being next to a Golden Corral. I like that it is on I-95,” Mills said.
Woody’s Bar-B-Q cooks its meats on site through a slow-smoke process. Dishes are served without sauce so customers can choose the one they prefer.
“We have a sweet sauce, which is a tomato-based sauce, we have a mustard sauce, which is a southern thing — I guess you’d call it, from South Carolina, Georgia and Florida,” Mills said. “We’ll have a Carolina sauce, which is vinegar-based. Whatever they want, it will be on the table.”
The menu includes baby back ribs, spare ribs, smoked pork, beef, chicken and turkey, as well as burgers and salads.
The turkey is a favorite of Wendy’s.
“It’s very healthy but it’s good, very good,” she said.
With an anticipated grand opening on Sept. 19, the restaurant is working to hire 43 employees, including 20 servers, 10 cooks, four dishwashers, four cashiers and, if permits are approved, five bartenders.
Jason said there is not a lot of structural work required in the old restaurant.
“We’re trying to revamp the inside,” he said. “Just a new look.”
The company boasts more than 30 restaurants, primarily in the Southeast, with four locations in Colorado, and another in New York.
Woody’s Bar-B-Q’s new location comes with a culinary history. The building briefly housed Nelson’s Barbecue, which folded after a few months in 2012. It was constructed after the previous building, which had long housed John’s Restaurant, was razed. Johns opened its doors on May 8, 1978, and remained open for 28 years as a favorite spot for local people as well as interstate travelers. Before John’s, the spot had been home to Blanchard’s restaurant.
The Olsens are excited to get the restaurant going and to be good neighbors.
“We also want to give to and do for the community we live in,” Wendy said.
Terri Ferguson Smith contributed to this report. Reach her at [email protected] or call 910-416-5865.