Five Eggnogs with Shannon Wright & Russell Anderson
Author: Tommy Bastek
Now let me tell you: I do not like eggnog. Let me repeat: I do not like eggnog. I will not drink it with a fox; I will not drink it…well you get the idea. But of course, being the good writer that I am, and I use the term writer very loosely, I buck up and head out the door to Woody’s.
For those of you who have never had the opportunity to go to Captain Woody’s, let me give you a little taste. It is a great local, neighborhood bar with all the coziness of your favorite watering hole back home. The only difference is that the food is absolutely fantastic. From their ever-famous grouper melt sandwich to their incredible oyster roasts during the winter, you would be hard pressed to find something wrong with this place! So here we are…
EGGNOG 1 (Special thanks to Russ and Shannon for adding mucho extra rum to my eggnog, so now I might actually stomach it)
Big Tommy: The first question I am sure everybody asks is, “Is there a real Captain Woody?”
Russell: Sure is. He was the original owner and operator 24 years ago when this place first started.
Shannon: And he just retired from fishing last year. He is a great man.
BT: How did you two get into this business?
Shannon: We went to college together, moved down together, and we were both working next door at Shuckers.
Russ: The business came open for purchase, so we took the opportunity and made it happen.
BT: Now you guys are engaged, right?
Shannon: Yup, getting married in 2007.
BT: Like working with each other?
Russ: We have worked together so long it just seems normal.
BT: I’ll ask that again once we get some more eggnog in you.
BT: You have built the oyster roasts into such big events. How?
Russ: We started doing them with Shuckers when we first took over Woody’s. We thought that we needed to do something with all this great outside space. The locals really took to it. Then we involved the Humane Society, and it really took off.
BT: What’s on tap for this year?
Shannon: This year, the Budweiser Oyster Roasts are going to be bigger than ever. And we even have the artists, formally known as White Liquor, closing out the season on March third as the live entertainment.
BT: I am sure that most people know by now, you are famous for two other big events every year—the golf and fishing tournaments. How do you manage to pull off both with great success?
Russ: Our friends typically fall into one of the two categories, golfers or fishermen. So we do both.
Shannon: Once again the locals really get behind them.
BT: Let’s talk about the locals for a second. You seem to have the best of both worlds. The tourists don’t really scare off the locals and vice versa. How do they cohabitate?
Russ: Great locals make for great advice. You will constantly see locals giving advice to the tourists on where to go, where to fish, etc.
BT: We get a lot of boat people here, and boat people are some of the best.
BT: Ok, now that we have a little liquid courage in us, let’s revisit the relationship. What is the best thing about working with each other?
Russ: Getting to spend time with one another.
BT: And the worst?
Shannon: Same thing. We do get on each others nerves sometimes.
BT: Let’s talk about the Woody’s empire. You have this restaurant and the two bagel places with your partner Rocket.
Shannon: Yes, one here and one in Bluffton.
Russ: And the Woody’s restaurant in Bluffton will be opening fall of next year in Calhoun Station.
Russ: Yep, and there is even going to be a place out there where we can do oyster roasts and raise money for the new humane society in Bluffton.
BT: Cool. Tell me about the Christmas party that you guys throw.
Russ: Every year we shut down for Christmas and throw a big party. Everyone brings a toy and we donate them to Deep Well.
Shannon: Ben Arnold donates the liquor, the yacht club across the parking lot here donates the space, and everyone donates a toy. Last year was the first year that we actually had to get two trucks to cart off all the toys.
BT: Any funny stories about the place or each other?
Russ: Not that we could publish here. (Laughing)
Shannon: Well, I am allergic to fish!
BT: WHAT? You own a seafood restaurant and you are allergic to fish?
Shannon: Yep, but I can still eat all the shellfish I want.
BT: Whew! That’s good. I was thinking about a vegetarian owning a steakhouse for a second. If you could be any fish what would it be and why?
Russ: Marlin. Catch and release baby. Catch and release!
Shannon: Dolphin. Because those dolphins out there (pointing to the creek) are spoiled rotten!
BT: Anyone you want to thank?
Russ: Terry and Ann Phillips, and the staff. You are only as good as your staff, and ours is great!
Shannon: And our families for supporting us and wanting us to be happy!
BT: Seems like everyone who comes here, whether to work or eat and drink, is happy.
Shannon: And if they’re happy…
Russ: Then we’re happy!
BT: After five eggnogs, I think we are all a little happy.
Palmetto Bay Marina