When Morgan Roland found out The Woodshed was closing, she and her husband lost more than her favorite college bar: they lost their jobs. Roland started in the kitchen in 2006 and eventually moved out to the bar until the establishment closed in December 2008. The Oswego State alumna remembers the last call for The Woodshed on the night before graduation; the place was empty. She left The Woodshed with its unique atmosphere and distinctive "pizza balls," and found a job at The Sting. Now, Roland cannot wait to return to what was once her favorite hangout.
"I’m really, really excited," Roland said. "It brings me back to that time when I was still an undergrad in college."
The new owners of The Woodshed Tavern, a local bar and grill, say they have plans to renovate and remodel the establishment, but will keep the name and will still cater to college students.
Scott Grants said he and his business partner, Sarah Tracy, plan to close on the property sometime in the next few weeks. William Galloway, broker and owner of Century 21 Galloway Realty, which had the listing, confirmed a selling price had been agreed upon between owner Diane Broadwell, the previous owner of the property, and the buyers.
The property had been for sale since Broadwell decided to retire and sell the business two years ago. The initial asking price for the establishment was more than $660,000. Following several price reductions, the price was again lowered in September to $362,000. The property is currently listed at $325,000 on Galloway Realty’s website.
The Woodshed will be updated and remodeled in the coming months, but Grants said they will keep the name, "The Shed," in honor of the nostalgia and history of the establishment. The Woodshed was once a popular bar among Oswego State students, due in part to its proximity to the campus.
"We still want to leave it a college bar, but we also wanted to expand the demographic in which it had served previously," Grants said. "We’re looking to really serve the town with something that they don’t have."
Plans call for the new business to be a bit more upscale than its previous incarnation. Among the renovations, the kitchen will be remodeled and the dining space will be expanded. The bar will be moved to make room for the larger dining room. Aside from the physical alterations, the atmosphere will change. Grants said the goal is to create an environment where anybody could come for the restaurant during the day, and college students come for the bar and club atmosphere at night.
There will also be a slightly more upscale and diverse dining menu, Grants said. Food entrees will range from $8 to $15. Grants is also in the process of interviewing chefs.
"We would love to be open for Harborfest…but, depending on the renovations and the contracting, that may be pushing it, but that is our goal," Grants said.
Grants and Tracy were initially interested in leasing the property from Broadwell, but to no avail. They started aggressively seeking to purchase the property six months ago and came to an agreement a few weeks ago, Grants said. Crews will be working around the clock to prepare The Woodshed for the proposed opening at the end of July.
When The Woodshed opens, Grants does not foresee a problem obtaining a liquor license, even though the bar previously had underage drinking violations.
"When The Woodshed closed, it was closed because of a 90-day suspension, but that was one of the only infractions they had over 15 years," Grants said. "Really, The Woodshed had a phenomenal reputation."
He also attributed The Woodshed’s past problems with underage drinking violations to the outdated nature of the property and staff. The Woodshed’s new security system will incorporate modern ID scanning technology, which makes it almost impossible for anyone underage to gain entry to the establishment.