The process behind how the owners of Woodside Bistro landed upon their new location at Woodside Mill is fairly similar to how they land on new menu items.
“Ken and I are creative types,” said Austyn McGroarty, who operates Woodside Bistro at 1112 Woodside Ave. with co-owner Ken Frazier. “Us sitting down and going through things step by step just doesn’t work for us.”
As the restaurant grew in popularity since it opened back in 2019, with its flavorful but affordable take on classic food options becoming a hit in the Woodside neighborhood, both McGroarty and Frazier knew they would soon outgrow the cozy, 49-seat spot on Woodside Avenue.
But rather than sit down and deliberate over real estate, they opted instead to keep their eyes open to possibilities — the same way they operate in the kitchen.
As always, that method wound up working in their favor.
Woodside Bistro will move from its current location and open up just down the street at the Woodside Mill, with an opening date set for the end of the first quarter of 2021.
“It was the only place we even looked at,” McGroarty said. “I just walked into the place, asked who the contact was, and got a call the next day.”
Not only is the location ideal, allowing them to continue serving the same neighborhood clientele, it’s also a perfect fit for the name and brand.
“It’s right down the street from where we’re at, so we didn’t have to change the name, didn’t have to rebrand in any way,” Frazier said.
Considering Woodside Bistro’s logo even features an image of the mill, it could seem as if they’d planned it all along.
The new space comes with a significantly expanded outdoor dining area, which will be heated during colder months, and a much larger indoor dining area.
The move will also allow them to expand from what Frazier calls the “Waffle House-style” kitchen of their current location into a full-fledged commercial kitchen space.
He and McGroarty have already been throwing around new menu ideas for months, a process that they say will likely continue until the new space is close to opening.
“We work better under pressure,” Frazier said. “It’s kind of a volley system. Austyn will throw an idea, and I’ll say, ‘Cool, but what if we tweak it like this?’ You know, it’s more collaborative, as opposed to sitting down and saying, ‘We need a steak on the menu, we need this or that.’ Really, the only question we have is, ‘What do we feel like making?’”
Diners can expect the same “unpretentious, classic food” that is currently on the menu, but there will also be grab-and-go meals, expanded options for vegans and vegetarians and retail wine.
“We’ll try to fit our core customers but also the tenants that are right behind us,” McGroarty said. “So if they’re on their way to work or working from home, they can grab a salad, a grain bowl, a parfait, lettuce wraps, that sort of thing.”
The French Dip, the most popular item on the menu, won’t be going anywhere — “There might be a riot if we got rid of that,” Frazier said — and both men are adamant that they want to keep the core items that cater to the regulars.
“Our day-one customers that know where we came from, I think they’re excited to see us be able to grow,” McGroarty said. “When people walk in here, we normally know their names. We are not going to forget those people.”
With the new location, Woodside Bistro will also be adding a new bar program that McGroarty said will aim to be at the top tier of local bars.
“We’ve got something really fun planned with alcohol, but that’s about all I can say about that for right now,” he said. “I would like to think it’s going to be different from what people expect, but the goal is to be one of the best bars in Greenville.”