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Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon Iowa City

Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon

If you’re wondering how the Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon came to be in the Eastern Iowa, here’s a little history…..

I have had a dream of opening a country bar since I was a college student in the early 1990’s after spending countless nights at the Red Stallion in Coralville, Iowa.  Unfortunately it closed in 1994 and there has been a void in the Iowa City area ever since.  I’m an Iowa kid that grew up on a farm listening to hours of country music while driving the tractor.  The only station that came in on our tractor’s AM radio that played music was WMAQ out of Chicago.  When I was out of college, I spent time down in Texas in the Fort Worth area during the summers and on several vacations.  It’s cowboy country and I love it.

My wife Amy and I live on one of the Burnett family farms north of West Liberty with our two kids, Trey and Hadley.  We have horses and cattle and we enjoy team penning and sorting in our arena.  Two years ago Amy and I were on vacation in Fort Worth attending the annual Stock Show and Rodeo.  We had a great time and I must have told her a dozen times how much I wish we had places to go to in Iowa like they do down there.  She challenged me and told me to go for it, live the dream and see if we could make it happen.  (I think she got tired of hearing me complain.) From there the seed was planted.

my dream over lunch. Randy was a manager of the Sports Column in Iowa City the same time I was in college.  I was a bartender at three different bars during my college years at the University of Iowa – RT Grunts, Fitzpatricks, and the Fieldhouse.  Randy said it was his dream to own a restaurant/bar as well.  From that day forward, we’ve been partners. 

Through months of hard work building a business plan, pitching our plan to multiple banks and with many, many meetings with different groups of people (architects, bankers, builders, etc), the dream hit the ground running last June 23rd, 2008, when we signed the paperwork to purchase the land and secure the loan for the project. (Thank you First American Bank!) 

The Wildwood name stems from all of the barn wood that is in the place.  We were blessed to have been given the opportunity by Mark and Char Madsen of Atalissa, Iowa to have the lumber off of their 100 year old barn that they were going to tear down.  That was quite a project in itself to get all of timbers and barn boards down piece by piece.   We are really excited about the look that it gives the Wildwood.

I hope you enjoy your experience at the Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon – there’s no other one like it in the Midwest.  Our goal is to give you a taste of Texas!!