Long wooden picnic tables stretch under the semi-outdoor structure reminiscent of an oversize garage. Three “big-ass fans” circulate an aggressive breeze through the seating space, where groups can enjoy bites from the food trucks lining the grassy backyard or libations from the bar while catching the latest game on one of the big screens lining the space.
The overall vibe of Deacon Baldy's is one of easygoing community, which was precisely the goal of co-owners Kevin Mims and Joey Muckenthaler. The icon of the bald, bearded, glasses-adorned man presiding over the space is the namesake for the bar and food truck park.
"Deacon Baldy's was named after my dad, Mike Mims, and a fundraiser that my dad used to put on called Deacon Baldy's Beer & BBQ," said Mims. "We loved the idea of naming the bar after him — my parents' house is a place where everyone feels welcome, and we often fall into deep conversation on their back porch. That is the feel we were going for with Deacon Baldy's."
Neither Mims nor Muckenthaler had a background in the restaurant industry going into Deacon Baldy’s, but their shared love of craft beer and belief in their mission brought the park to fruition.
The park concept includes four mainstay trucks, with additional food trucks rotating in daily. The Lucky Fig, Cousins Maine Lobster, Craft Burger and Beefy’s will be the four permanent trucks for the next six months, serving up modern Italian street food, lobster-studded creations, gourmet burgers and Southeast Asian barbecue, respectively. Patrons can also enjoy a curated selection of 40 beers on tap along with local craft beers, wine and a cocktail program from the bar.
The variety of food and beverage options inspires communal sharing and makes it incredibly easy for large groups to eat well. On our visit, a few friends and I enjoyed a impressive spread: a salmon burger from Craft Burger, an addictive pesto-slicked fried eggplant panini with a side of buttery spinach and ricotta ravioli from The Lucky Fig, and kimchi tacos and a beef banh mi with fries from visiting food truck The Grove. After we reveled in the breeze for awhile, a second round of food brought truffle fries and a bananas Foster milkshake from Craft Burger and a duo of buttery, tender cronuts from The Grove, along with another round of beers from the bar. It was one of the most relaxed and deliciously varied meals I've had in a while.
Between the bar and the expansive, open space, there's plenty of room for adults and children to play side by side — Muckenthaler says they're looking to install a small jungle gym in the future.
If space, taste and comfort are any indication, The Woodlands has found its new watering hole.