Handmade crispy fries and short ribs cooked on a toasted baguette. I don’t eat like this very often, and when I do, it’s just a courtesy Ken Fraser in Woodside Bistro. I met Ken right after he and partner Austin McGarraty opened a small bistro on Woodside Boulevard. Adorned with black-and-white photos of our city’s textile past, Woodside has also celebrated working-class neighborhood affordability and philanthropy.
The couple has now found a new home for their restaurant, but that doesn’t mean they’ve left their roots behind.
“We hated leaving this place, he had such a great personality, but it’s time to move on,” Frazier said. And when we got close to a place in Woodside MillWe knew it was a good move for us.”
With high ceilings, the smell of a new restaurant, and great art, Woodside Bistro feels far from its humble beginnings. Kane thinks otherwise.
“Look out the window and you can see that we are shaded by the huge water tower, which was bringing water to this huge mill,” he said. “We are still in the same place, with the same great food and people. We are all grown up now.”
“Look out the window and you can see that we are shaded by the huge water tower, which was bringing water to this huge mill. We are still in the same place, with the same great food and people. We are all grown up now.” – Ken Fraser
I have already grown up. Modern dishes like watermelon sashimi with Asian slaw and avocado hummus with grilled focaccia now share space with a braised short rib sandwich, a dusted cornmeal dish, and a properly crunchy catfish dish. There are plenty of seating and great cocktails at their bar, along with the patio which, thanks to its proximity to the mill pond, feels close to the beach.
Diners may find Kane lunging away on the grill or perhaps serving up the perfect club sandwich. On my last visit, he was showing a little chef how to clean the hood.
“I know I spend a lot of time here, but I love it,” Frasier said. “I like speed, and I like to make people happy. I can screw something up on Thursday and go back to work on Friday and make it right.
There is no waiting for errors to be corrected. I love translating my skills in the kitchen into creating something cool, memorable and sustainable. A great meal or a simple sandwich can be very powerful. I remember the feeling my sister and I had when my mom was cooking for us. I couldn’t wait to see what we had for dinner. She worked and then came home and was so excited to cook dinner. She cooks a lot of comfort food, and on Sundays she skips a huge breakfast. My mom really enjoyed cooking and reminded me not to be afraid of failure and always work on improving my mistakes. The restaurant worked like this. So many chances to fail, then so many chances to redeem yourself.”
Woodside Bistro is located at the northwest entrance to Woodside Mill on East Fifth Street and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
John the owner is a restaurant coach and chef consultant in Greenville. He can be reached at [email protected]om.