The first time Nick Wood walked into the Third Base Bar and Grill in Laporte, he liked what he saw.
“I love this bar, I should buy it one day,” Nick remembers saying to himself.
That was back in 2009, and now he, along with his wife Victoria (Raddatz) Wood, are the new owners of The Woodshed — a take on the couple’s last name and also because most people in northern Minnesota have a woodshed.
“There’s lots of fun puns, lots of goofiness that goes with the name and it’s great for marketing,” Nick said.
Karl Lemke, who along with Victoria graduated from Laporte School, is a partner in the business that was officially purchased in early March.
The Woods’ story began when they met in Texas where they both were going to school after graduating from high school. The two were married in 2009 and spent their first year of marriage in the Laporte area where before moving to Maine, where Nick was born and raised. Over the next few years they added two children — Elijah, 10, and Sage, 6 — and in 2019 decided to move back to Laporte.
Besides being a certified chef for the last 17 years, Nick will also manage The Woodshed, and Victoria, a social media manager for Brothers Group Restaurants, will help out on all the future expansion projects.
The Woodshed, which has already undergone some renovations since the sale was finalized, will continue to be a bar and restaurant that caters to the local community and tourism population. Recent changes inside include a new epoxy floor, the purchase of 10 big-screen TV’s and new bar stools.
But the biggest change right now is an expanded menu. There will be several types of burgers made with fresh ground beef from the local grocery store, along with steak, seafood, pasta and fresh salads on the menu.
“We’re going to be a step above pub grub by serving more fresh foods,” Nick said.
The Phase II expansion of the menu includes fresh entrees by the middle of April, and Phase III is weekly dinner specials and providing smoked meats that the Woods plan on preparing, once the kitchen expansion project is completed.
Renovation projects this spring include an outdoor patio area that will be between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet. The Woods also plans on upgrading the outdoor entertainment area that will include a larger volleyball area, fire pit, and corn hole and horseshoe areas. The main entrance will also undergo a make-over that will include both indoor and outdoor seating, and getting rid of the enclosed vestibule.
Construction on the new patio area is expected to start soon.
The Woods’ plan to work with area contractors as the renovation projects begin this spring and continue over the next few months.
“We want to be as local as possible with contractors,” said Nick, adding they’ve already done this on a couple smaller projects.
“We’ve got our feet on the ground, and things are going to really flow over the next couple of months as construction happens,” Nick said.
Sometime in the future they will also be upgrading the off-sale section, adding new video games and hopefully bring in a golf simulator later this year.
The couple also has plans to work with the community and school to add more school and community-minded events. They would also like to add an outdoor ice rink for winter months.
“Our goal is to give back to the community as much as we possibly can because this is an area that needs it,” Nick said. “We want to partner with the school and help them do things like that.
Victoria said it’s important because this is where she grew up and went to school.
The Woodshed will also continue to be the home of the Lake Garfield Ice Racers.
Current hours of operation at The Woodshed are Mondays from 3 to 11 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Hours will be expanded later this spring and into the summer.