New restaurant hoping to bring Woodway community together

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:36 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:38 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Owners of a new restaurant in Woodway are hoping their unique menu, complete with traditional steakhouse favorites, wines from around the world and fresh seafood flown in weekly from Hawaii, will not hit the spot for diners but also provide a place for community.

Oak & Ivy Bistro Wine Bar In the Outlook at Boque Ridge in Woodway opened in the summer but owners Jennifer and Josh Sims say they’ve been tweaking the menu and experience to make it the best it can be.

“Owning a restaurant is a lot of hard work but we feel like we are already positively impacting a lot of people,” Josh said.

Opening a restaurant was never in the plans for the Sims.

Jennifer is a mortgage lender in Waco from California and Josh is a Groesbeck native with a business background in operations strategy and process improvement.

But the couple said the area of Woodway they targeted had no options for unique dining or a place to gather for a good glass of wine.

The restaurant decided on a unique mission of focusing on bringing the community together, particularly after so many suffered from loneliness with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My talents that I bring to the game are strategy development and people building,” Josh said. “I really enjoy building up people and so once we decided the restaurant was a potential idea, we incorporated some of my gifts into the mission statement and that’s why our mission is about the people and the employees.”

Jennifer said her decision to open the restaurant was simple.

“Josh and I really wanted to have a place on our side of town with great food and wine. Pretty simple actually. Creating community is really important to us and this was one way to do it,” she said.

The Sims hired chef Paola Chamberlain and say she brought the farm-to-table concept to the team which they felt paired well with their open kitchen design.

While the restaurant offers traditional favorites like steak and potatoes, they also offer unique dishes like bacon-wrapped quail breast and chicken curry pot pie.

All the ingredients come from Texas, except the seafood which is flown in weekly from Hawaii and include everything from swordfish and grouper to scallops, prawn, moonfish and barramundi.

“Our seafood is 48 hours fresh out of Hawaiian waters. They catch it on Monday. We receive it on Wednesday and sell it on Thursday,” Josh said.

Oak & Ivy Bistro Win Bar is open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. with Happy Hour Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

They also offer a Saturday brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.