Friday, November 8, 2013

Woody's River Roo - Pub and Grill in Ellenton , short review about lunch on the river

Woody’s River Roo Pub & Grill
5717 18th St E
Ellenton, FL 34222
(941) 722-2391

Living for 4 years here in Bradenton I have to admit , we did not go out to check out places enough to know a lot of them. Now this one we drove by literally dozens of times. Maybe even hundreds. Not sure. Sitting close to Ellenton Outlet Mall where we go often and right along the freeway bridge, which we cross going South or North, we saw the outside seating area many times and pretty much every single time we said “ Let’s go there”.

Today finally it was the day. After doing some work in the area we decided to stop for a quick lunch and see how it is.

We came from the East and I was not sure where to turn, so I took a left one street before getting to the freeway ramp. Once you are going towards the river it is easy. Just take a right and drive a couple hundred yards.

There is a good size parking lot. It was not very busy, but you could see that the place was well liked. We walked right into the beer garden, which looked OK. Plastic tables. A nice bar ( which I thought looked good), a stage for live music. You have a view on the river from pretty much every corner.

We walked through and decided to sit on the river side of the building where there were a few tables with a nice view. Photo below.


Seating on river side of building.          View from Tiki Bar towards the pub.

It was a nice spot and we had the following view today.


View towards the I 75 bridge and river.         View towards Tiki Bar and boat docks

You can not see it too good on the photos, but the view was nice.

It took only 1 minute for our server ( Chris) to show up and ask what we would like to drink. We went for the coke and also told her that we were ready to order.

I ordered the Angus Hot Dog. Asked if I can have Kraut with it, she said sure. I also ordered the onions and fries as a side. Christiane opted for the Tilapia sandwich and chose the apple sauce as a side.

We read in the menu, that you only get 2 refills of coke or pop. Strange I found, considering how much ice was in this little cup. See below.

At the most, you have a couple sips in this cup. Considering you are supposed to get two refills ( from a pitcher which had more ice cubes in it) and then need to pay extra, this was a turn off. 2.50 $ for this coke. Pretty bad.

Well the food did not take long. Which was a good thing, since we had places to go after this lunch.

Find the photos of what we got below.

Actual Angus Hot Dog with Sauerkraut and Onions and bacon , fries as a side

Tilapia Sandwich with Apple Sauce and no other side

Angus Hot Dog

The bun was pretty good. Good size and it was toasted. I liked the fact that it was not falling apart just touching it. The hot dog was good as well. Seemed grilled and had good taste. There was a little bacon below the hot dog, but you could not taste it. The Sauerkraut tasted good but was totally dry. I am German and I know Sauerkraut. Not much effort here. There was a few onions on the hot dog. But 50 cent? Amazing. The fries were almost cold, full of fat and the portion seemed like a leftover stack. Pretty small. I operated a kiosk with authentic gourmet hot dogs. Same size. Between 2.50 $ and 4.00 $ and what I saw today was not worth the 7.99 plus 1.50 for onions and kraut. 9.49 $ for what you see there.

Tilapia Sandwich

The bun was a joke. Straight out of a package or bag. No taste to it. Soft. The fish was of good size with good seasoning. A little fishy, but over all good. Some plastic bottle tartar sauce and a little bit of applesauce. 11.99 $ for what you see.

When she brought the food I asked her if I could get Tabasco. She never brought it and walked by 7 times! ( not talking to me one time)

I was not asked how I liked it but if I would like to dessert. We negated and asked for the check. That one came very fast.

The entire lunch came to 28.00 $ and something plus a tip. Way too much for what was offered.

We have no problem to pay more, but expect that we get value for the price, which clearly here was not the case. Service was pretty low, food eatable but nothing to write home about. The coke story is a little irritating.

If I would make my next visit depending on this experience, I would never come back and would not recommend anyone to try it.

However, I am not sure how it would work out if I just come to drink beer and enjoy the view. The location is great and the place looks good. The Tiki Bar looks promising. If you want to eat on the water, there is clearly better choices for the same, lower or slightly higher price available.

We might give it another chance at some point, but I am now certain, that in 4 years I have not missed much.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Distillery Tavern now Loaded Barrel in Bradenton, FL - Is that a good place, do they have food? - short review about our first visit

450  Old Main Street, Bradenton, FL  34205              Phone 941.745.TheD (8433)

(more photos at bottom of article)

We live close to downtown Bradenton and we actually picked our house for a good reason.
The fact that we can walk to restaurants and bars as well as the river, park and even across the river to Palmetto.

But because of lots of work and other obligations we really did not explore the new places and downtown in general lately.

So last week we figured we need to pick one place and check it out.
This time we visited:

The Distillery Tavern  on Bradenton Mainstreet.

I drove by there many times and it always looked nice and inviting. Not to big. Nice interior.
When we got there it was about 10 pm. Since it was a weekday we did not expect this place to be so full that we did not find a good seat on the bar.

When we entered we were greeted from a young lady who was helping customers on the other end of the bar. The bar is of good size and looks nice. The entire place is not huge. Just the bar and then some tables along the wall across from the bar. There is a couple games and a jukebox ( digital).  Also there were at least 3 large TV screens where they showed sports. It is nice to know that this place offers NFL, MLB and more.

We found a great spot right by the entrance. This side of the bar seats up to 4 people. A bonus from our point of view was the gaming machine, which Christiane loves to play. Card games and so on.

Couple minutes into our visit the bartender asked us what we like to drink after greeting us friendly. I opted for a Fat Tire ( a beer I always liked) , Christiane for the Angry Orchard Cider. Both were there in no time. Both were fresh, cold and good tasting. No doubt in my mind, they keep their pipes clean. We started playing on the machine and had a good time.

There was a constant flow of customers coming in and going out. Some stayed for longer. The patrons we saw when coming in were there for the most part of our visit. I saw people eating and then realized that there was a sign that this place serves pizza.

Not really hungry , but curious, I asked for the menu, which we did not need to order our drinks.

I was pleasantly surprised that they offered different pizzas, different sizes freshly made and you could pick toppings if you like. Best of all, they offered slices. Something I was excited about. A fresh slice is always good and rare in taverns, at least here.

The bartender checked frequently if we were OK and we ordered a second round.
When she came back again, she asked if we like some food and that the pizza of the day is a Polish Pizza with Kielbasa and Sauerkraut. I did not have to think twice for that one. We are German and I spend time in Poland and on top have polish friends.

Only about 7 minute later we got our slices. It looked great and was of good size. For 5 $ I thought it was great. We are very selective with pizza. Getting a pizza with a good dough here in the US is very , very seldom. Only few places actually know how to do it.

The great news: The Distillery in Bradenton knows!

This was the closest we came in a while to a good original Italian pizza dough. It tasted great. It was hot and the ingredients tasted fresh and not dry. Good tomato sauce and the cheese was perfect. Needless to say that the slice was gone fast.

If not on a diet at this point, I would have ordered a whole pizza, but I had to stop myself from doing that. Time was flying by and we needed to go home. We asked for the check and it took 1 minute to get. We spent about 25 $ which I thought was totally fair for the product and service. 

When we left we received a friendly farewell and it was done.


The Distillery Tavern on Bradenton Main Street is a nice and comfortable place where you can sit and enjoy a good beer or drink, play games, listen to music and have a very good pizza or pizza snack. They have friendly service, good prices for what they offer and the place is clean and organized.

So if you like to have a drink, a beer or actually enjoy a nice pizza dinner without missing a tavern atmosphere, The Distillery Tavern in Bradenton on Main Street is a good place to go.

We will certainly be back. If you go there, share your experience or write a comment.

This view is from the inside of the Distillery towards the main entrance. We were sitting at the end of the bar by the gaming machine which is in the middle of this photo right by the door. 

They have a very good selection of liquor. We did not try any this time, but will and find out if they also can mix good drinks.