WR Kitchen & Bar customers order from one of three stations at the bar. The order areas are marked in gray. Guests can also sit at the bar and order from the full menu similar to a full-service restaurant.
After ordering, diners are given a table tracker so servers can find them anywhere in the dining room. Guests seat themselves, and there is no assigned or reserved seating.
WR Kitchen’s menu features smaller portion options of Wood Ranch classic plates including ribs, tri-tip, salads and barbecue sandwiches. However, the restaurant does contain several new dishes exclusive to the concept including taco plates with the following filling choices: Carolina pulled pork, brisket, bánh mì-style chicken (pictured), or roasted cauliflower.
The menu features a handful of new appetizers or snacks for sharing including brisket caramel popcorn (pictured), Brussels Sprouts with bacon and almonds and pan-roasted corn.
The 4,000-square-foot WR Kitchen is a little over half the size of a standard Wood Ranch restaurant, which is normally about 7,000 square feet. The end of the bar (far left) has a separate cashier station for takeout and delivery orders.
With the minimum wage rising every year and construction costs soaring, Wood Ranch co-founder and CEO Eric Anders said it was time to rethink the company’s next phase of growth. This hybrid 140-seat concept requires fewer employees for the Westlake Village, Calif-based company, which has 16 locations in Southern California.
The full bar has about a dozen craft and domestic beers on tap. Small-batch cocktails are made with fresh-squeezed juices including two types of margaritas. Wines, spirits and American whiskeys are also available at the bar.
A self-serve open cooler with bottled water and glasses is set up at the front of the restaurant. The owners said this feature elevates the brand beyond fast-casual restaurants, which tend to offer free water at a self-serve soda dispenser. WR Kitchen has a separate self-serve soda fountain, featuring Stubborn beverages.
Co-founder Eric Anders said Wood Ranch’s new concept will “never sacrifice quality, but we are making our service and systems more efficient and economical for our guests.”
A team of servers will circulate around the 140-seat dining room to check on guests and take additional orders for food or alcoholic beverages.