Featured Golden, CO Business: Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza Grows with Golden
If you live in Golden, you’re probably familiar with The Original Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza. From their weekday “at the bar” lunch special ($5.99 for two slices and a beer or soda) to their College Night ($7.99 All-You-Can-Eat pizza for Mines students from 9PM to close on Mondays), the family-owned and operated restaurant has been a part of Golden for more than 25 years. It’s no surprise that it has become a favorite for locals and visitors alike. In fact, Pizza Today Magazine recently ranked Woody’s as the #1 Single Unit Independent Pizzeria in Colorado and #46 on their annual Hot 100 Independent Pizzerias list. It’s great recognition for the popular dining establishment.
As Golden’s dining scene grows, Woody’s is adapting to the needs of their patrons. Big changes are coming to the beloved pizza place in the form of a long-awaited addition of a dedicated take-out and delivery kitchen. This isn’t your ordinary expansion. The new kitchen will be located inside of a re-purposed solar-powered shipping container with a green roof.
Good To Be Golden spoke with Woody’s COO Jon Bortles about the business and their expansion.
Good To Be Golden: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your business?
Jon Bortles: I’m a Colorado native and a third generation Golden resident. My high school sweetheart/wife, Kendal, and I live up on Lookout Mountain with our 10 month old son, Bearett (Bear). We love all the cliché Colorado things like hiking, snowboarding, camping etc., but also love dining out as much as possible. This is probably because it’s been something of a “sport” for my family as long as I can remember, having been born and raised in the restaurant industry. My dad, Bart, has owned and operating restaurants all over Colorado. From the Boulderado Hotel in the 1970’s to the Table Mountain Inn and Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza chain the 90’s, he (and his partners) have certainly been around town for a long time. In about 2000, he parted ways with his corporate ties and was left with the first (and now the only) Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza right here in Golden. In 2002, I began bussing tables and ultimately started managing Woody’s in 2008 during the day while I attended graduate school at night. In 2011, I graduated with my MBA from DU and I left Woody’s to “save the world” with a career in sustainability. After about five years of that, my dad retired from daily operations at Woody’s and I enthusiastically took the helm “officially” in 2015.
For those who don’t know Woody’s, we are a wood-fired pizza place with something for everybody. We have killer burgers, wings, sandwiches, salad bar, gluten free and vegan options, as well as a full bar featuring local craft beers and top notch cocktails. We also pride ourselves on being “the friendliest place in town!”
GBTG: Can you tell us about your new addition?
JB: If you’ve been to Woody’s you know it is a bit of “controlled chaos” most of the time. As one of the busiest single unit independent pizzerias in the country, we have to work at the highest level of efficiency to serve guests the best quality foods with the best quality service possible. One of the major hurdles in doing this is the limitations of our physical space – a 100 year old building that was never designed to accommodate “modern-day” Woody’s. In fact, we have never offered delivery in our entire 26 years of doing business, and have only supported a modest Take Out business that is difficult to fulfill when the restaurant in full. As the industry has begun to shift toward take-out and delivered food, we saw an opportunity: a dedicated Take Out and Delivery kitchen. Not only will this serve customers who want Take Out and Delivery, it will also free up staff and kitchen capacity so that we can provide a better dine-in experience. After years of planning, the solution we landed on is a upcycled 40’ shipping container kitchen with dedicated parking, online ordering, and you guessed it, delivery. You may have seen all the commotion directly behind us at 1305 Washington Ave – it’s going to be quite the sight.
GTBG: When is the new kitchen slated to open?
JB: I think (pray!) by 12/7/2019. We want to be available during the holidays for families who are entertaining and don’t want the burden of cooking every night. Then in the spring and summer, you can get food to-go down by the creek, at your favorite brewery, or on your way up to the mountains.
GTBG: What do you love most about owning a business in Golden?
JB: First and foremost, I genuinely think Golden is the best city on the front range. We have proximity to everything but with the old-timey mountain town vibe. We have a world class university, top notch breweries, and an outdoor enthusiasts playground. Being able to provide a fun and welcoming spot for locals and tourists alike to imbibe on local food and beverage is a dream… a dream that was passed down to me from my dad that I take great pride in fulfilling today.