By Matt Taylor

Seeking to create a more family- and community-oriented atmosphere, Wesola Polana owner Michael Friedrich debuted Woodstone Pizzeria at Wesola on Friday (May 25). The new restaurant, which is replacing the recently closed Kelly’s Restaurant, is located just off Highway 20 next to the Rolling Huts.

“We wanted to create a place that was more family-oriented and affordable, a place for local people to come hang out,” said Friedrich.

Friedrich said he saw about 20 bikers drop into the restaurant on a recent morning. They just “stopped in for coffee, tea, a drink, pizza … It’s a perfect stop between Mazama and Winthrop,” he said.

Woodstone will serve a variety of food — from pizza, espresso and pastries, to a selection of “excellent imported beers,” said Friedrich. “It’s for everybody.”

Friedrich is hopeful that the change in focus will attract more local diners.

“Our mission is to bring locals back to this place again,” said Friedrich. He described the restaurant as a place for “casual family-style eating.”

Cooking and managing the restaurant will be Albertano Dominguez, a chef who spent over 22 years at the Duck Brand Hotel and Cantina in Winthrop before deciding to work at Woodstone.

“I just wanted to do something different,” said Dominguez.

The new restaurant is just one of many changes Friedrich has seen in his two decades of ownership. From overseeing multiple changes in restaurant management to constructing the now famous Rolling Huts, he has experienced a significant transformation of the property.

“It wasn’t an overnight miracle,” said Friedrich. “We’re getting back to a European background … With this set­up, even if people don’t know each other, they’ll have to get to know each other.”

“It’s a more communal feel,” he said.

Woodstone will be open Thursday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. All-you-can-eat pizza will be available on Mondays between 5 and 7 p.m. The restaurant is at 18381 Highway 20. Visit www.woodstoneatwesola.com for more information.