Due to me being too talkative with my company on both meals as well as being a slightly air-headed foodie at times, I didn't take any pictures of the food or atmosphere. Hopefully I can add those after my next visit. But enjoy the posting, I think you will like it!
Bodway's (not sure if the pronunciation is bod-ways or bode-ways) opened in Waukesha in the Fall of 2010 with a limited menu. The owner's dream (Tony) started back in 2007 and I had been patiently waiting for him to open the place. I had a conversation with him at another establishment in downtown in late Spring of 2010 and he informed me that they were close to opening. I told him that when he was open, I would definitely be stopping in and getting him on my blog. Well I owe him an apology on the delay, but I finally ventured in last week Friday AND this week Tuesday for dinner.
Bodway's is located at the corner of Maple & Main in downtown Waukesha's West End. I'm not sure what the building was home to prior to it being the grill, but it is definitely a nice looking building that adds keeps up with the class and artsy style of the West End. I had become friends with Tony on Facebook a while ago and then "liked" Bodways as I do with all things Waukesha and stayed in the loop. From the postings that I was reading, Bodway's was being raved for its burgers and fish fry from opening weekend on. My friend actually was Bodway's 500th fan and this entitled her a free dinner for two! Of course I told her she had to take me and we finally decided to use the dinner last week Friday. (If you are the 1000th fan, its a trip for 2 to VEGAS!)
We arrived a little after 5:30 and the place was already jumping with people. There was a group having a wonderful time reminiscing high school stories at one table, over half the bar seats were full, and only 2 tables were available for us to choose from. So we sat down and took in the scene while waiting for a waitress.
When you first walk in, there is a stage to your left that has live music performances on Friday and Saturday nights (don't quote me, but that's been the pattern). Then there is a guitar shaped bar with exposed brick wall behind it home to the top shelf liquors. Towards the back of the bar is the kitchen area. The kitchen is open concept so you can see everything the chef is working on. (It takes a lot of skill to be willing to be so out in the open like that - props to the chef). The wall art is comprised of album covers of great bands of days gone by and classics that will never go old, as well as paintings of the Rolling Stones and other bands. You can definitely pick up that the theme is rock n' roll throughout the place and its done with class. I saw Bon Jovi stuff so it's all good with me :)
Tony came over first and took our drink order and my friend and him exchanged the info for the free dinner and he thanked her for being a fan and helping him hit that milestone. He got us our beverages and a waitress was soon to follow with the menu which she kindly explained. The menu is composed of "Opening Acts" (appetizers) that include wings and flat breads among other yummy treats, "Headliners" (main dishes) and Burgers. I shouldn't say "just" burgers as this part of the menu is enough to take in alone. First you pick your meat - filet, black angus patty, chicken breast, mahi filet (one more option I can't remember?) for a set price and then add whatever toppings you want for no additional charge (a few fancy options did have a charge, but not many). And they have every topping that I could think of! If you aren't sure you can create something on your own that will be tasty, they offer up some of the favorite combinations on the menu to spark your interest.
Ok - onto the food. I decided to go with a Headliner and ordered the Ribs on a Stick (which I will need to verify if they are from Robert's Specialty Meats or Tony's fine creation) and my friend chose a burger. The food came out decently quick and the plating was very creative. My Ribs on a Stick came over a bed of homemade potato chips and a side of house slaw. I didn't even know what to go for first. The ribs were on top, so I bit in. They were perfectly marinated and fell right off the skewer. I was instantly in heaven. I had dipping sauces on the side, but didn't even feel the need to use them because the pork was so perfectly seasoned itself. I took a few bites of the house slaw that had an asian vibe to it with peanuts in it and loved the taste but it had a bit too much spice for my buds. And the potato chips were also excellent. They are thicker than regular chips, crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. I dipped them in the ranch(?) sauce that came on the side. There were way too many on my plate to finish but other than that, I would say that was one of the best meals that I have had in downtown in a while (and not just because it was free!).
The food and atmosphere really struck a chord with me (unintentional pun ha ha), that I brought my mom to the bar on Tuesday night for dinner. This time the place wasn't as crowded but Tony was there smiling and chatting with everyone in the place. He came over and took my mom's and my drink order and I explained the menu to her this time. She decided on a Honey BBQ Chicken Flat Bread and although it was an appetizer, it was a very generously sized and she was contently full when she was done. She didn't realize it had pepper jack cheese on it, and like me, she has spice sensitive taste buds, but she used my ranch(?) dipping sauce and it made it "cooled" it down for her enough to devour the whole thing. I decided on the Tenderloin Kabob Basket and again, I was just amazed with the quality of the food. The tenderloin was cooked to my liking, with just a little pink in the middle, and it was skewered with zuchinni, mushrooms and tomatoes. The two skewers were placed atop the potato chips and it came with the house slaw again. My mom tried the slaw and besides the spice kick in the after taste being a bit much, we both agree its delicious.
I have already told quite a few friends about the place and I think Tony has a great operation on the West End. His menu is diverse enough for downtown to fill in gaps that are missing, but also adding his own genius to stay around and draw his own crowd. And with the variety on his menu (he can surely have a burger of the month and other specials) is large enough to stay the same for quite some time. (The burger toppings alone could have you in heaven for weeks!!!). And I know there is a burger battle being tossed around in Waukesha once People's Park is back open and I think the competition is going to be fierce!
Stay tuned for more foodie fun from Waukesha coming up. Summer is coming guys - really it is - and I'm excited to get out more for all that Waukesha has to offer. Happy Eating!