sandwiches and sides at the wood shack soulard photo by david kovaluk

The Wood Shack is moving into the former Twisted Ranch space in Soulard

Popular smokehouse The Wood Shack is moving from its original location at 1862 S.10th St. to the former home of Twisted Ranch (now located at 14 Maryland Plaza in the Central West End) at 1731 S. Seventh St. toward the end of May. The core menu will remain, and there will be some additions to the menu, including specials and more beverage options.

The 5,000-square-foot space will provide a significant expansion to dining space, something chef-owner Chris Delgado has wanted to add for years. The new space will have 75 seats on the main floor, 20 seats on the second floor (which should be open within a month or two), and an additional 40 seats on the patio. The old location, a few blocks away, was roughly 1,500 square feet and had only 20 indoor seats, which made it difficult to seat diners in the winter when the patio was closed. “I was seeing a lot of turning away of tables, larger tables, especially. And this is an opportunity to actually have larger parties and catering events,” Delgado said. 

Delgado wants to transition the restaurant, which relied heavily on online ordering platforms in the previous space, to a more traditional service style. “Those delivery platforms really take a lot of money away from the restaurant. And it makes it hard to get by. … We want to try to offer some of that stuff still, but it won't be as extensive. We want people to come in and enjoy the place,” Delgado said, adding there will still be online ordering and delivery, but more of a focus on sit-down dining.

Aside from expanded dining space, the new building will allow Delgado and his team to add more frequent specials and expand their beverage service. The new space will have a full bar with 14 seats, and Delgado plans to develop cocktails specific to The Wood Shack, allowing the team to better cater to the bar culture of Soulard. Some of the cocktails will even be imbued with smoky flavors to complement the smoked meats. In addition to new seasonal cocktail lists, there will also be beer in bottles, cans and on draft, plus a few wine options. For NA beverages, there will be Excel sodas.

Delgado's wife Hope designed the space, taking inspiration from Southwestern decor and featuring wood and metal accents. The patio already had evergreens when they took ownership of the space, and Hope added elephant ears, among other plants, to lend a tropical vibe.

“There's all sorts of different opportunities that I have here that I just didn't have there,” Delgado said. “To new and to old diners, I just want you to come down and take a look and see what we've done.”

Hours at The Wood Shack will be expanded slightly. The restaurant will be closed on Tuesday, but will now stay open until 10 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The new building features on- and off-street parking with two designated parking lots. The original location will close the week of May 22 so the team can move all the equipment to the new spot, which should open by Memorial Day, Monday, May 29.

The Delgados plan to open a Sonoran-style restaurant called Shameless Taco in Wood River, Illinois, later this year. 

Editor's note: This article was updated at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, to include further details on the design.