The Restaurant: Woodhouse Grill Bar & Lounge is located at 4559 Office Park Drive in Jackson, but if you didn’t already know it was there, you just might miss it. This restaurant is just off busy and bustling Northside Drive near the I-55 S. Frontage Road. However, you can just about smell the aroma of slow burning wood in a grill from the intersection. The restaurant is mainly take-out with counter service, but they have a small dine in area which doubles as the lounge during the evenings.
The Atmosphere: Once you enter Woodhouse Grill, you will notice the very prominent display of customer service and satisfaction signage posted throughout the front of the restaurant which read in bold letters: “WARNING CUSTOMER COMPLAINT NOTATION!”. I admit, this made me anticipate there would potentially be an issue with the level or quality of service, as the owner posted his cellphone number and noted that he could also receive text complaints. Quality control and customer service assurance seemed to either be a historic issue for the establishment or a key priority for its owner. I’m delighted to share I was greeted with a warm and inviting salutation by the young lady who then ushered me to the counter to place my order. There’s a case with current food inventory on display under a heat lamp, so there’s no guessing as to what they have available. While the sight of a heat lamp is usually a damper on this foodie’s culinary parade, I took comfort in noting the freshly smoked meats being routinely pulled from the huge grill in the front parking-lot of the establishment and stored in the food case.
The Menu & Food: The menu is your standard barbecue joint’s menu, with a variety of smoked meat choices and sides. It is worth noting that the mac & cheese and greens are a favored side dishes in my estimation, based on the number of orders of both I heard other patrons ordering with their meals. On this particular day, there were grilled pork chops, polish sausage, smoked chicken, smoked chicken wings, ribs, rib tips, and smoked turkey legs. I chose the combo plate with chicken wings and ribs + one side. I lucked out and got the last of the mac & cheese, but there was something about the greens I wanted to try, as they appeared to be flavored with smoked turkey.
As for the chicken wings, they were smoked to perfection and prepared with a dry rub. They literally melted in your mouth while falling off the bone. The ribs were also prepared with a dry rub which made for a beautiful, crisp, and flavorful deep mahogany bark. Like the wings, the ribs fell off the bone and were very tender. There was no use of barbecue sauce on this plate, as I didn’t want to take away from the beautiful, authentic smoke rings. The mac & cheese, although quite popular, didn’t intrigue my taste buds in any way. The greens had a sweet taste, as though they may have had a touch of maple syrup. Again, not particularly my choice in flavor, but they were prepared nicely.
Where there is the smell and sight of savory smoke near Northside Drive and I-55, there’s a fire taking place at Woodhouse, where they take their talents on the grill seriously. They don’t offer barbecue sauce with your meal for a reason – you won’t need it. I look forward to returning soon to try other items and for more of those smoked chicken wings!