The metro-east’s newest restaurant is hoping to be a destination dining experience that feels like you never left home.
The Wooden Tie Cafe occupies a renovated brick home at 206 Illinois 143 in Pierron, which sits on the Madison-Bond county line, east of Highland.
The restaurant draws its inspiration from the farms and families that surround it. The food is local, the portions are big, and it’s cooked with great care.
“ ‘Small venue, big food’ is kind of how I refer to it,” said Stephen Siemaszkiewicz, the cafe’s chef.
Siemaskiewicz said the menu was designed with locally sourced ingredients in mind. Local producers are providing The Wooden Tie with meat, produce, dairy and its soda line.
“We are just trying to keep the quality high,” Siemaskiewicz said.
Alongside daily specials, Siemaskiewicz said the cafe will offer classic barbecue meals, like ribs, meatloaf, pork chops and freshly smoked meat platters.
The cafe also offers some lighter choices, such as soups, salads and sandwiches.
But Siemaskiewicz is not afraid to get creative with the menu. Case in point, the “Nutty Dog,” a quarter-pound, all-beef, smoked hot dog smeared in peanut butter and loaded with pulled pork, cheese and fried onions. They make a horseshoe sandwich, an open-faced burger topped with fries, homemade cheese sauce and chili.
“There is a lot of personality going on with the food here,” Siemaszkiewicz said.
The cafe is the labor of love of Jackson family, who have been working for the last several months to transform the home into a restaurant.
“It’s just been long days a lot of work,” said Joe Jackson, one of the owners.
The Wooden Tie celebrated its “unofficial-official” grand opening on Sept. 22, and it was a hit.
“Right at 11 a.m., the people started lining up, and it has not stopped yet today,” Jackson said as the dinner hour approached Friday afternoon.
Many items sold on the first day, but Siemaszkiewicz said among the most popular was the cafe’s “Big Bad Brisket” sandwich, with smoked brisket piled with melted pepper jack cheese, grilled mushrooms, onions, and peppers, then topped with a special Alabama white horseradish barbecue sauce.
Facebook reviews have been positive, and customers have also been having fun posing for a picture wearing the wooden tie from which the cafe got its name. Those pictures can be seen on the cafe’s Facebook page.
Regular business hours for The Wooden Tie are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the bar area will stay open later after the kitchen is closed. At the moment, the business is only excepting cash and check payment.
As for the family, Jackson said they are glad to have the up and running and are looking forward to what the future will bring.
“We are just going to sit back and enjoy some good food,” he said.
Meet the chef
Stephen Siemaskiewicz is from the Troy/Collinsville area and has been cooking for 21 years.
He attended one phase of school a the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, but later went to graduate from L’Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis.
During his time as a chef, he has worked at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in St. Louis and at the St. Louis Art Museum, doing catering and events. For the last couple of years, he has been working at the Highland Country Club.
At a glance
- Name: The Wooden Tie Cafe
- Location: 206 Illinois Route 143, Pierron
- Phone: 618-973-1385
- Social Media: Facebook