by Shlachter, Nishimura and Baker
It was a light lunch crowd at the Woodshed on Friday.
But that a crowd of any size materialized at the open-air eatery on a 97-degree afternoon speaks volumes about both celebrity chef Tim Love's venture and North Texans.
When the project was hitting delay after delay last year, other restaurateurs speculated on just how many or few would spend a hot afternoon at the Woodshed, by the Trinity River in Fort Worth.
Thirty-five to 40 percent of the covered shell was full and roughly the same percentage outside. Diners sat at picnic tables under umbrellas emblazoned with a cooling image -- the mountainscape trademark of Sierra Nevada beer -- and a slight breeze was abetted by fans equipped with misters.
One patron admitted to being uncomfortable but said she'd be hot wherever she went -- and was about to head off on an even hotter bike ride.
Although the Trinity River Vision Authority, which brokered the deal to open the restaurant, said there'd be no air conditioning, Love has installed two units in the shell. But with windows and glass garagelike doors closed, they don't do much, said members of the staff, told to drink 2 ounces of water each time they swing by the kitchen.
So even as the AC units hummed, only patrons sitting alongside them must have benefited, since all windows and doors were wide open.
It was the last day in Fort Worth for Bill Feld, 43, recently resigned from the Arlington Fire Department, and he insisted on going to the Woodshed before leaving for California.
He and a friend from there sat outside behind the ice machine and looked unbothered by the weather. And they said as much as Feld finished a meal of duck sausage and a smoked fish appetizer. He pronounced the meal "awesome."
How does the staff keep cool?
"Wear as little clothing as possible," joked general manager Veronique Gentry, who like most of her staff was dressed in shorts, urban camo ones less generous with fabric