A new restaurant recently made its way to Mt. Juliet, bringing its signature Nashville Hot Chicken and welcoming atmosphere. Though Woodfire Grille has already opened to the public, the grand opening is Friday, Oct. 20.
Woodfire Grille is part of the growing Konnector Restaurant Group, which has two other restaurants in Middle Tennessee: Konnector Restaurant and Lounge in Madison and Konnector Hot Chicken in Nashville.
The restaurant offers affordable southern cuisine and a southern atmosphere, according to Dexter Byrdsong, member of the management team.
“Simplicity is the key to success in the restaurant business,” said Byrdsong.
Byrdsong and Woodfire Grille’s owner, Dewayne Collier, have known each other for around 30 years, so to them, it doesn’t seem like they are even in business together.
“I used to be in the restaurant business for a while, and he just wanted me to help him out, give him some of my expertise,” said Byrdsong.
Instead of driving downtown, Woodfire Grille is bringing the popular trend of hot chicken to a growing city, and doing it right. They have the stamp of approval from the family who runs Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville, one of the original restaurants to offer the dish.
“Prince’s owner’s nephew is a good friend of ours and he’s a frequenter of our restaurants and he’s eaten our chicken,” said Dewayne Collier, owner of Woodfire Grille. “He’s said out of everything he’s eaten, we’ve come the closest to his family’s recipe. And he will not give us the family recipe.”
Collier considers Prince’s the best hot chicken and gives them all the respect they deserve. He said it has taken years to come up with the way they do their chicken for Woodfire, but he is very proud of it.
“We have our own spin, but we try to keep within the tradition of Prince’s-style hot chicken,” said Collier.
The most popular dishes they offer are the Nashville Hot Tenders, Autie’s Meatloaf and Woodfire Club. They will also have an extensive Happy Hour 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekends, and there will soon be a pastrami sandwich added to the menu using all Boarshead products.
Because guests seem to enjoy the food so much, Collier said they plan on bottling their seasonings for guests to purchase.
The family-friendly restaurant offers food for children who might not be as curious about the hot chicken trend as other residents of Mt. Juliet.
“We want [Mt. Juliet] to know that they can come here, bring their kids, and we have things for them to eat as well – giving them another choice in Mt. Juliet,” said Byrdsong. “I know Mt. Juliet’s a tight-knit area, so you have another choice where you can come and eat some really good food. And the fact that Nashville hot chicken is here, that makes it all the better.”
Collier said they are also going to bring in Friday night entertainment and are looking for local artists for smooth background music.
Along with an outdoor patio, guests can also use the party room for private dining such as anniversaries or birthdays. The restaurant has a catering option as well.
Though Woodfire Grille has no affiliation with the previous restaurant of the same name, a small aspect of the building inspired the owner to keep “Woodfire.” Located above the front entrance, a small outline of a fire is illuminated as you walk in the door.
The restaurant is open 11 a.m. till 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. till 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. However, they may adjust the hours later if demand is high enough.
“One thing that we do want everybody to know is, come to Woodfire, you’re going to be greeted with a smile as soon as you hit the door,” said Collier.
Woodfire Grille is located at 3950 N. Mt. Juliet Rd.