Usually restaurant reviewers do all sorts of things to disguise there identities. RantWoman is a large person with thick glasses, a broadbrimmed hat to keep glare out and brain cells in, and Ambassador Thwack the badly behaved white cane and anger management consultant. Disguises are not feasible. Plus, if RantWoman writes a mixed review of something in her neighborhood, RantWoman wants to celebrate the parts that work AND try to engage about things to do better about.
The short version of this review: readers who like smoked meats, beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken well presented are likely to love the Wood Shop either in its Jackson St. location or from its food truck. Readers who navigate partly by smell should have no problem following their noses on the S side of Jackson St. just east of Two Big Blondes plus sized used clothing store. Come to think of it: RantWoman has only visited The Wood Shop at times Two Big Blondes is not open. RantWoman has no opinion about in which order readers might want to visit the two businesses when both are open.
Readers who are vegans or who dine a lot with vegans will want to find other options. RantWoman does not recall a single identifiable vegan item on the menu. Readers who want tasty smoked meats but don't want to brave crumbly sidewalks and an increasingly car riddled S. Jackson St. get to do their own research about tracking the shop's food truck.
Now to RantWoman's impression. RantWoman's first visit was during the Sunday after church hour for people who still go to church. RantWoman's thought was to grab some lunch ahead of grocery shopping at the new Amazon Fresh store. A pizza restaurant nearby was not open. RantWoman also realized from a sign on the door about vaccine cards that she should just finally dig out her two cards and carry a photo around on her phone.
Walking west, the next zone of enticing smells was the Wood Shop. RantWoman did her typical squint and decide to enter. The place is not overly well lit. There is a lovely wooden counter and RantWoman quickly found a very nice white laminated menu in decent sized print. All good, but the menu was the alcohol list. There are people who think 1 pm on Sunday is an awesome time to drink. And there are stick in the muds like RantWoman who do not but who would love to find a food menu in similar format.
Fortunately the woman at the cash register asked whether she could help. RantWoman kind of whimpered when the cashier pointed to a menu with not great contrast on the wall above her head. Conversation occurred. RantWoman was hungry and wound up ordering a cup of pit beans with pulled pork, a cup of coleslaw AND a pulled pork sandwich. The beans were nicely cooked but not mushy. The meat was fabulous though getting the bread right for a pulled pork sandwich is not straightforward. In the future RantWoman will probably just skip the sandwich or go for some meat by the pound to take home.
The sandwich comes with great pickle and a bit of coleslaw that did well in the brine from the pickle. The cup of coleslaw did not wow RantWoman: it was a cheerful mix of red and green cabbage and grated carrots. The menu advertised buttermilk dressing, but it hardly seemed like vegetables had encountered any dressing. Even worse they had the slightly moldy taste that pre-chopped veggies sometimes get. RantWoman generally likes coleslaw and resolved to try it again at another visit.
RantWoman's next visit was one of RantWoman's habits: go eat supper out instead of looking at housekeeping chores, go get modest exercise, tear one's face away from screens and go interact with real humans. Luckily at least for now RantWoman has easy bus options that involve short walks on either end of the trip, and options for safe street crossing. For now.
This time RantWoman approached from the west at dusk, with only mediocre street lighting. RantWoman noticed the giant driveway for the new apartments' parking garage and some pretty crumbly sidewalk on the way to the restaurant. Has rantWoman mentioned that she is a bit of a sidewalk imperialist? RantWoman just thinks sidewalks should be of consistent quality over her entire path of travel. In any case, RantWoman got to the restaurant just as it was closing. They were out of brisket chili so RantWoman will have to go back. A cup of pit beans and more coleslaw were plenty of supper. RantWoman could live without globs of fat in the beans even though it's PORK and what does one expect. This time the coleslaw had not funny taste, but at the end of the day having coleslaw that is even a little soggy from contact with dressing is more what RantWoman would expect.
The restaurant has some kind of seated dining area in the back. RantWoman did not go visit. Instead for both visits RantWoman adapted parts of the plaza for sitting and dining. Trash can? What trash can? One time RantWoman left garbage in protest. The second time, RantWoman dutifully toted her garbage home.
Welcome to the neighborhood.