New restaurant emphasizes families, homestyle cooking
by: Kelly Moyer, IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR — Shannon Hodney, owner of the new Hodney’s Family Grille, stands in the renovated Old Town restaurant with her youngest son, Trent, 4. The new restaurant, located in the former home of Nottingham's in Old Town Sherwood, has turned a Sherwood landmark into a family friendly restaurant with home-style cooking with a separate sports pub.

A lot of restaurants claim to be 'kid friendly,' but at the new Hodney's Family Grille and Sports Pub in Old Town Sherwood, this claim happens to be true.

Four-year-old Trent Hodney can attest to that.

'It's fun. My favorite is the chicken nuggets with French fries,' Trevor says, throwing a quick smile toward his mother, Shannon Hodney, the restaurant's owner, before retreating back to the restaurant's child play area to drive some Matchbox cars around a carpeted track.

'This is why I wanted to have something like this,' explains Shannon Hodney. 'I wanted to have a restaurant where parents could come in and relax and not worry about their kids getting up and playing.'

And, unlike many restaurants that also double as bars, Hodney's is able to serve children until closing time because they owners have a made a true separation between the bar and the restaurant. Families with children are welcome until closing time on the first floor, while adults who want to get away from the kids, or maybe just grab a glass of wine, can head upstairs to the bar area.

The restaurant opened the second weekend in March and seems to be catching on with local families.

'I've had a lot of dads bring their children in and they can sit back and watch sports and get lunch or dinner while the kids play,' Hodney says. 'Also, there really weren't many options for late night dining with children. You'd get out of sports practice, or want to go eat after a game and you didn't have many choices.'

Before last month, if you wanted to dine out at night, with your children and in a smoke-free environment in Old Town, you were out of luck. But the Hodneys - Shannon and her husband, Jeff, are the parents of four boys, including 4-year-old Trent; Jordan, 12; Trevor, 15; and Jeff, 17 - have changed that.

'We feel like we've got the right thing,' Shannon Hodney says. 'We want this to be the type of place where young families can go … to get a home style meal.'

The restaurant has a sports theme, with several flat screen televisions playing various sporting events and jerseys in frames on the walls. Shannon Hodney, who also is a professional photographer, is searching her database of photos for local sports pictures, to highlight Sherwood's young athletes.

'We're a part of the community,' Hodney says. 'Our kids play sports and go to school here … we like the small town feel of Sherwood.'

The family moved to Sherwood about 10 years ago after Shannon and Jeff fell in love with the town's close-knit community.

'It reminded us of the place we grew up, on the southern Oregon coast,' Shannon Hodney says. 'It just had that small town, community feel. Even now that it's grown so much, I think it still has that feel.'

The Hodneys hope their restaurant reflects the kind of comfortable, small town atmosphere they feel in Sherwood. The menu includes tons of comfort food staples, including moist, house-cooked chunks of turkey on thick, nutty bread; mac and cheese and bowls of apple sauce for the little ones; generous portions of creamy macaroni salad; and rich, homemade soups.

In response to their customers' preferences, the Hodneys have added more vegetarian options in the restaurant and are searching the region for tasty microbrews to put on tap in the upstairs bar.

'I really wanted people to feel like they were coming to my house for dinner,' Hodney says. 'That's why we do things like roast our own roast beef and prepare our own turkey. It just tastes more like home cooking than if we used already prepared meats.'

The restaurant also offers a selection of homemade pies and cobblers; triple chocolate cake and hot fudge brownie sundaes for dessert as well as four flavors (vanilla, chocolate, Oreo and banana) of old-fashioned milkshakes made with real hand-dipped ice cream.

All of the burgers and sandwiches are served with a choice of thick-cut, homemade fries or 'mom's homemade macaroni salad.'

For professionals meeting for a quick, working lunch, the upstairs bar features a back room for such gatherings.

'It's also perfect for coaches because we have a t.v. back there and they can get together and replay the games and talk about strategies,' Hodney says.

Located in the former home of Nottingham's, which went out of business last spring, the new restaurant has taken full advantage of this old church building: converting the former pulpit into a play area stocked with toys; keeping the beautiful stained glass windows; and opening the garden area to diners during good weather.

The new restaurant is moderately priced, with burgers and sandwiches in the $7.95 range and entrees like lightly battered halibut and chips for $9.95.

Hodney's Family Grille and Sports Pub, at 22418 S.W. Pine St., in Old Town Sherwood, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Children are welcome until closing all seven days. For more information, call 503-625-5101.

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