Mendham resident Dan Wood has spent plenty of time fighting fires, as a paid firefighter for Edison and as a volunteer with the Brookside Engine Co. No. 1. Now he is spending his downtime making them--in the kitchen.
As owner/operator/visionary/cook behind Woody's Firehouse Cafe in Randolph, Wood is bringing the atmosphere, cameraderie and good eats known in the firehouse culture to all people. So patrons can have the experience of firehouse food and atmosphere without having to leap up and risk their lives when a siren goes off.
"We have big portions. Full breakfast menu," Wood said. "Being a fireman and cooking for firemen, I serve full-sized portions."
Decorated with firefighting equipment, vintage signage and even salt and pepper shakers that are fire hydrants and dalmations, the atmosphere of Woody's is unique and a departure from the Jimmy Buffs that was at that 1594 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph location previously.
Wood said his other menu offerings like cheesesteaks, and italian hot dogs that were Jimmy Buff staples are available at his cafe, but that his breakfast sandwiches are what he is known for.
"When we were up the road at the other golf course the kids at County College of Morris and Randolph High School would come in for my belly buster breakfast sandwiches," Wood said.
Wood hopes those students will flock to his new location for their "brain food" but is also hoping their location right off of Route 10 will bring in new business.
"I hope people will come in here to enjoy the firehouse atmosphere," Wood said. "My waitresses are great, our portions are great and the food is great."
The restaurant is a dream come true for Wood, who said he always knew he wanted to own a cafe.
"I was always interested in it because I cooked a lot at the firehouse," Wood said.
According to Wood, the members of the fire department could not have been more supportive. Wood has lived in Mendham Township with his wife and three daughters since 1996 and currently serves as captain in the Brookside Engine Company as well as being a paid firefighter for Edison. So if you think firemen and first responders get special treament from Wood—you'd be right.
"I give a discount to fireman and EMTs," Wood said.