Meatloaf and Me

Damn, Davenport. 10 years. I never thought I’d be in one place for 10 years as a restauranteur.   

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We’re celebrating our 10 year anniversary here at Woodfire, and it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. 

I was recruited to downtown Davenport by some Quad Cities leaders including the late, great Terry Lunardi, who wanted a unique restaurant downtown to help anchor what the city hoped would be a hub for major development and investment.  Yes, a restaurant guy recruited another restaurant guy to town. 

It wasn’t about competition, it was about growth. And later, friendship.

Downtown Davenport has changed a lot in the past ten years. When we opened we were the new kid on the block - the darling of downtown Davenport - and the favorite of downtown businesses. Small businesses come and go, restaurants open and close, bands full of hormonal high schoolers play Redstone Room one day and don’t exist the next. But in all that time, I’ve survived here at 2nd and Main, and, I’ve even thrived.  

We’ve been fortunate to be able to adapt to changing times, changing economies, and even changing appetites of Quad Citizans (I can’t believe I just used that term).  This means noticing trends that are on the horizon and evolving before it’s too late.  We’ve renovated our space on a couple of occasions to better adapt to the way people “go out” these days. And, as you know, we’ve had about 30 variations of our menu over the past decade.  Not only were these changes necessary for the business, they were necessary for me.  

I get bored quickly.  The stimulation of a new menu, or a new layout to my bar is like a drug I can’t get enough of.

But if there are two things that have remained constant over the past 10 year it’s that:

  • I still effectively live in the kitchen
  • You all order the same damn meatloaf

Meatloaf.  

I have a fear that on the day I die when it comes to writing something on my tombstone, it won’t include some pithy words of wisdom I’ve said during my life, it’ll just say, “Meatloaf.”  

Our meatloaf has been the one constant on every incarnation of our menu over the past decade. Why? Because it’s damn good, it’s comfort food, and you keep coming back for more. But it’s not just you, my Quad Cities’ friends, celebrities gravitate towards it too. 

When Alton Brown came to Woodfire, he ate meatloaf.

When Mario Lopez (AC Slater!) came to Woodfire, he ate meatloaf. 

When Mr. Belding came to Woodfire, he ate meatloaf.

What about Rick Springfield you say? You guessed it… meatloaf. (I wonder if he was thinking about Jessie’s girl when he ate it?)

I could speculate on what makes the meatloaf so popular. Maybe it’s the old-fashioned comfort of it. Maybe it’s that you’re curious about whether my meatloaf can beat your mom’s. (It can.) 

I’m a chef, not a shrink, so I just choose to believe that good food speaks for itself. My meatloaf has sort of followed me around from restaurant to restaurant. Sort of like Neil Diamond having to sing “Sweet Caroline” wherever he goes, despite all of his other great material. 

In celebration of 10 years of meatloaf, and 10 years at 2nd and Main we’ll be hosting a 10th Anniversary party on April 7 from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. ($100/person) with a charitable twist we’re calling “Feast It Forward.” 

I’ll be showcasing some amazing food (and it’s all-you-can-eat!), an open bar, and the best crowd in the Quad Cities. All the money raised will pour right back into the community, providing food for organizations and people who deserve it most. 

Whether it’s hors d'oeuvres for a charity event, a special fundraising dinner, or even a funeral luncheon, worthy causes find themselves in need of good food. Food brings people together. 

Cooking for others is something I’ve done as often as I’ve been able to over the past ten years, but the funds raised here will help expand Woodfire’s ability to feed people with purpose.

Woodfire is 10 years old, and that’s a cause for celebration, but we’re also celebrating with a cause. If you like Woodfire, if you like me, or, if you just like my meatloaf, I invite you to join us on April 7 as we Feast It Forward.

Let me know you’re coming… 563.324.2227.