Simon Lam loves to eat. Although he isn't a trained chef, he sure knows what good food tastes like.
A Great Place for Gourmet Pizza
Woodenheads has been around for almost 25 years in Kingston. It has become a very busy and popular spot for wood-oven specialty pizza. We visited them in December just before the holidays. The inside of the restaurant is inviting, classy and warm. I was pleased with their brick walls and neutral colours. On this visit, my friend and I shared two pizzas—the Marco Polo and the Dynamo. The Marco Polo had lemon chicken, and its sour flavour was too overpowering. It was also slightly dry. I much preferred the Dynamo, which had smoked chicken. It had a nice sweet flavour due to the drizzled honey. I would highly recommend the Dynamo. The service was quite friendly and very efficient. Their washrooms are beautiful, clean and well-kept. One disappointing and slightly concerning flaw that I learned about by checking their health inspection is their food handling. They needed to improve on protecting food from contamination. If they work harder on this, they could be a super-star restaurant. Overall, I would recommend this restaurant despite a few minor shortcomings.
A Bit of History
Woodenheads first opened its door to diners in 1994. As far as I know, it's been at the same location on Ontario Street since it opened. The ownership of the restaurant is shared between three gentlemen: Wayne Goodwin, Nick Romeo and Jim Colden. They have overseen some changes to the restaurant over the years, including renovations to the back of the restaurant. This was done to make the kitchen more efficient. These men were at the helm as Woodenheads became a popular destination for gourmet, wood-oven pizza in Kingston. A few celebrities have dined at Woodenheads, including Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) and Shannon Szabados (Olympic gold medallist). So far, Woodenheads has been a success story.
The restaurant has a bi-level configuration. Close to the entrance is the first-floor dining area. A set of stairs leads you to the second level where more tables are scattered. The walls are exposed brown and grey brickwork and provide a wonderful texture to the walls. Taupe-coloured wooden trims and ceilings act as a neutral backdrop. The focal point is undeniably the side-lit wooden liquor display that gives off a yellowy-orange warm light. The atmosphere is inviting, classy and warm.
Woodenheads has a sizeable menu with different kinds of gourmet pizzas, tapas, salads and other entrées. Their menu has Italian, Southern American, and Thai influences.
On this particular visit, my friend and I shared two pizzas: the Marco Polo and the Dynamo. The Marco Polo has tomato sauce, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and lemon chicken and goes for $18. The Dynamo contains pesto, roasted Roma tomatoes, feta, smoked chicken and honey drizzle. It is priced at $22.95. Each pizza is quite large and can easily fill one person up.
At the first bite, the Marco Polo seemed to taste fairly good. However, after a few bites, I didn't enjoy it very much. The lemon chicken was a bit overpowering. Its sour taste wasn't too appetizing. The pizza was also a bit dry.
The Dynamo, on the other hand, was magnificent. It had a wonderful combination of flavours, although saltiness and sweetness reigned supreme. The chicken was perfect and delicious. My only criticism is that it was just slightly greasy. So the Marco Polo was a miss, but the Dynamo was definitely a hit.
Our server was very pleasant and friendly. One of our friends kept asking her for things like additional napkins and chillies. Through it all, she remained polite and accommodating. Our pizzas arrived without too much delay. I thought our server was very efficient and did a good job.
How a restaurant cares for their washroom reflects how they care about other things in the restaurant such as cleanliness, sanitation and overall appeal. The washrooms at Woodenheads are in the basement. It was one of the nicest washrooms that I have ever seen. It had a huge sink that was perfect for hand washing and not having the water splash all over the place. It was nicely decorated with a large mirror on a tile backsplash. To me, it looked very clean and well-stocked. I was impressed by their washrooms.
Know Before You Go
The Kingston and area Public Health Unit has a website called Know Before You Go where they post the results of their health inspections. I wanted to see how Woodenheads did on their last inspection. I found out that they had an inspection on December 13, 2017. They were compliant in four of the categories. The Cooking and Hot Holding Temperatures category wasn't observed, likely because they didn't keep things at hot temperatures like a buffet would. One concerning category, Food Protected from Contamination, needed improvement. I was disappointed that they didn't clear all of their inspection points. So it seems that they have some work to do.