Woody’s revamps, reopens

June 4, 2009

Neal Wagner -


A local businessman is hoping a new menu and lower prices will spell success for a recently reopened Columbus restaurant. 


Woody''s on the Water, which closed its doors in January after a plummeting economy forced restaurant owner Woody Lovejoy to rethink his business strategy, reopened its lounge and bar Wednesday and is opening the entire restaurant today. 


Before it closed, Woody''s had been open since Dec. 12, 2006. 


"We are going to open the lounge half of our restaurant tomorrow, which will serve drinks and a bar menu with sandwiches and things like that," Lovejoy said Tuesday afternoon. "The entire restaurant will reopen Thursday." 


With the reopening will come a "completely new" menu featuring many items not served at the restaurant when it closed earlier this year, said Lovejoy.  


"We will serve a few of the same items, but other than that, it has completely changed," Lovejoy explained. "We will serve catfish, prime rib, steak and seafood, among other things." 


The new menu also will bring lower prices than before, in an attempt to avoid the scenario the restaurant faced in January. 


"We just thought we could do better with a lower-priced menu this time around," said Lovejoy. "When we shut down a few months ago, it was because the economy had gotten so bad and was affecting our business. 


"We thought that by lowering the prices, we would be able to bring a lot more customers in," Lovejoy added. "Personally, I think the change will help us out tremendously." 


Although Lovejoy explained the economy was one of the main reasons he closed the restaurant previously, he was quick to praise the "tremendous support" the restaurant has received from the community. 


"My original intention when I shut the restaurant down was to wait until the economy got a little bit better and then try to open it back up again," Lovejoy explained. "But even when we shut down, we were doing pretty well and had just a tremendous support from our customers and the community. 


"I think if we are able to hold on to that support, we will do great and have a very successful future," Lovejoy added. 


Although the restaurant laid off about 30 employees when it shut down early this year, Woody''s now employs about 35 -- many of whom worked at the restaurant before it closed. 


To date, Woody''s on the Water has been the most long-lived restaurant located in the raised waterfront building built on Columbus Lake in 2001. Since it was built, the structure has housed Kemo''s, Johnny''s River Dale Ribs and the Marina Bar and Grill, none of which were open for more than two years.