Meet Greenville News Food Writer Lillia Callum-Penso. LAUREN PETRACCA/Staff
It happened quickly. Within a day, Edmund Woo and his team had moved their entire operation from their restaurant space of 25 years at 477 Haywood Road, to a new, much larger 9-acred home at 681 Halton Road.
And with the move, nearly two decades of planning and hoping and strategizing has come to fruition in Woo’s Saskatoon Lodge.
The 7,500-square-foot Lodge makes several things possible. It offers more than double the kitchen space, which allows Woo ample room to fulfill his successful paleo meals business; it also offers 1,500 square feet of event space, along with a separate outdoor area that allows for gatherings of about 150 people; and, the Lodge also allows Woo to bring his vision of a rustic, Disneyesque experience to life in Greenville.
“If Walt Disney came back to life, what would he build as a lodge,” Woo says with a smile.
The Lodge is now up and running. The space is divided nicely with a dining area that has room for larger groups and intimate dining experiences. The look and feel is that of a log cabin, and it is quite intentional.
Woo describes it this way, “the idea was that here is a lodge that we found, it’s been here over 100 years and we’ve cleaned it up and dusted it off and made it into our restaurant.”
But the adjacent rooms are designed to look as if they were added onto the log cabin, each showcasing a slightly different craftsmanship.
To help in this endeavor, Woo hired a team of experts. Creative Builders, Inc. helped fashion the overall design, while Treeehugger Customs helped create the distinctive interiors, all of which are new but made to look old and refined.
The space includes three fireplaces (the old location had one), two room-sized murals painted by local artists, Ric Standridge and Kim Granner. The doors too are a piece of art. While Woo hoped to use the doors from the old place, they were too warped. However, guests will recognize the “Dancing Bears” painting on them, which was preserved by Creative Builders and inserted as panels in the new doors.
Outside, the landscape gets a huge and lovely boost from the work of Chris Miller. Miller, whose company is That Garden Guy, LLC, specializes in landscapes that are aesthetically pleasing and practical. So, the 15 or so raised beds that dot the entryway offer a space for guests to wander, while also providing fresh herbs and greens to the restaurant.
In the back, Miller’s plans include 50-foot rows of crops that will go to supplying both the restaurant and Woo’s paleo meals business.
“We were already focusing on local, but now it’s not just local but it’s our stuff,” Woo says of growing his own food. “The meats are not changing because wild game is our thing. But what is changing is all the vegetables and sides. We will upgrade our salad offerings.”
The events space is connected but easily separated from the restaurant. It has its own bar, and a bright room and an outside patio area, as well as a large green space.
In its first few weeks, Saskatoon Lodge has already seen a stream of regulars, and the event space already has hosted four corporate parties, and Woo is excited for the future in a new home.
“We were there 22 years, going on 23 in the old space,” Woo says. “A lot of history there, but I think the soul of the restaurant is still here.”
Saskatoon Lodge is now open at 681 Halton Road, Greenville. For reservations call 864-297-7244, or visit http://saskatoonrestaurant.com.