Wood Shop Social promises patrons unique, delectable dishes and drinks

If you’re a fan of unique, intricate dishes that utilize products from Michigan, colorful specialty cocktails and drinks, or decadent desserts that put a twist on traditional, a visit to the newly opened Wood Shop Social could be the beginning of a very dangerous, but delectable, new habit.

Wood Shop Social, located at 2336 S. Mission St. and known by many as the former Italian Oven Restaurant, opened to the public on May 25 of this year, and since then has continued to expand both its hours and offerings.

Owners Jim and Jenelle Wood are excited to open their restaurant in a community that is near and dear to them.

Jim, now an experienced chef, was born and raised in Mount Pleasant, and, after varied schooling and training experiences, has decided to call it home as an adult.
Wood says, “I graduated culinary school at Schoolcraft College. I went on to receive my bachelor’s in business management with an emphasis on hospitality management from Madonna University.”

This is not Wood’s first time in the kitchen. In years prior he ran the kitchen at Short's Brewing Company when it first opened, served as Executive Chef at The Sanctuary for ten years, and most recently served as Executive Chef/Partner at Antlers Fireside Grill and CL Pizza Co. for seven years. Wood adds, “I am also the on-camera chef for Michigan Out Of Doors Television.”

Despite a well-established career and a busy schedule, Wood decided the time was right for him and Jenelle to create their own business venture. Since beginning their lease of the building in October 2021, they have been busy transforming the place into a contemporary restaurant with a mix of wood and metal furnishes that give it a rustic edge.

“The menu would be considered "New American." Basically familiar ingredients produced in unfamiliar ways… [with an] emphasis on Michigan produce, meat, and fish.”

Visitors can choose from shareables, salads, pastas, sandwiches, larger meat dishes, and desserts, or sample a little of each. Wood Shop Social also boasts a full-page menu of cocktails and other beverages to enjoy alongside your meal.

Currently, the restaurant is closed Mondays, but open the other six days of the week. In the last week, the restaurant has also added brunch hours on select days. Check Facebook for its most up-to-date hours, specials, and menu offerings.

Wood hopes that the restaurant brings something completely different to the Mt. Pleasant area. “My goal is to give the community something that has been lacking for a very long time. I chose to open Wood Shop Social because I am from here and I want to give the community something we can all be proud of.”

Read more articles by Jennifer Veitengruber.

Jennifer Veitengruber has spent the last 13 years as a teacher in Bay City, Michigan. She earned her bachelor's degree from Saginaw Valley State University as a Secondary Education teacher with a major in English and minor in history. In 2019, she earned her master’s degree from SVSU as a K-12 Literacy Specialist. Currently, she is also a freelance writer for Route Bay City. She resides in Bangor Township with her husband, two daughters, and four Labradoodles; her son is currently stationed in Washington with the United States Army. Aside from writing, she enjoys traveling the beautiful state of Michigan, reading, hunting, and time with family and friends.