Review of Woodenheads in Kingston, Ontario

Updated on January 12, 2018
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Simon's background is in biomedical and health science. He also writes about fashion, nature, and photography.

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. You would be pleased with their brick walls, and neutral colours. On this visit, my friend and I shared two pizzas, the Marco Polo and Dynamo. The Marco Polo had lemon chicken, and its sour flavour was too overpowering. It was also slightly dry. I much prefer the Dynamo, which also had smoked chicken. It had a nice sweet flavour mostly coming from 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 a bit concerning flaw that I learned from checking their health inspection is their food handling. They needed to improve on protecting food from contamination. If they can just work harder on this, then they would be a super-star restaurant. Overall, I would recommend this restaurant despite a few minor shortcomings.

Inside Woodenheads

Brick Walls and Neutral Colours
Brick Walls and Neutral Colours | Source

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 gentleman, 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 Atmosphere

The restaurant has a bi-level configuration. Close to the entrance is the first floor dinning area. A set of stairs leads you to the second level, where more tables are scattered. The walls are exposed brown and grey brickwork, providing a wonderful texture to the walls. Taupe coloured wooden trims and ceilings acts as a neutral backdrop. Their focal point is undeniably their side lit wooden liquor display that gives off a yellowy orange warm light.

The atmosphere is inviting, classy, and warm.

Side Lit Liquor Dispay Is The Focal Point

Upper Level and Beautiful Liquor Display With Warm Lighting
Upper Level and Beautiful Liquor Display With Warm Lighting | Source

Marco Polo

Marco Polo with Lemon Chicken
Marco Polo with Lemon Chicken | Source

The Food

Woodenheads has a sizeable menu with different kinds of gourmet pizzas, tapas, salads and other entrees. Their menu has Italian, Southern US, and Thai influences.

On this particular visit, my friend and I shared two pizzas: the Marco Polo and 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, honey drizzle. It is priced at $22.95.

Each pizza is quite large and can easily fill one person up.


Dynamo with Smoked Chicken
Dynamo with Smoked Chicken | Source

The Taste

At the first bite, the Marco Polo seemed to taste fairly good. However, after a few bites in 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 reign supreme. The chicken was perfect and was 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.

The Service

Our server was very pleasant, and friendly. One of our friends kept asking her for things such as more 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.

The Washroom

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. They are one of the nicest washrooms that I have ever seen. It has a huge sink, perfect for hand washing and not having the water splash all over the place. It is also nicely decorated with a large mirror and tile backsplash. To me, it looked very clean and well stocked. I was impressed by their washrooms.

The Washroom

Beautiful Washroom
Beautiful Washroom | Source

Know Before You Go

The Kingston and area Public Health Unit has a website called Know Before You Go where they post their results of 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 work to do.

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