Oak & Ivy strives to grow the community


Jennifer and Josh Sims opened their own wine bistro, Oak & Ivy, in Woodway and recently started a Saturday brunch. Photo by Ken Sorey.


Prime Tenderloin is grilled to perfection and accompanied with Thai peanut sauce, roasted baby butternut squash, chile oil, and house-made garlic chips. Photo by Rod Idelot.

When owners Josh and Jennifer Sims wrote their mission statement for Oak & Ivy Wine Bar and Bistro, the “reason” for opening the restaurant was clear: to build community.

They envisioned a place where friends could gather to have fun, disconnect from the daily grind, strengthen old relationships, and form new ones. Even the restaurant’s name—Oak & Ivy—captures the couple’s commitment to cultivating relationships.

“Ivy symbolizes community and growth,” said Josh Sims. “The oak represents shelter and support for ivy as it grows.”

In June, Oak & Ivy opened at The Outlook in the Bosque Ridge Center near Interstate 84 and on the fringes of the Badger Ranch addition in Woodway. A native of Grosbeak, Josh said he was drawn to Woodway’s beauty and small-town feel. The restaurant overlooks a wooded landscape and rolling hills in the distance.

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“We have amazing sunsets,” Sims said. “After the patio construction is complete, we will have another area where guests can relax and enjoy the view.”

dinner experience

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Colombia-born Paula Chamberlain is a classically trained chef who infuses Asian and South American flavors into her cooking. Photo by Rod Idlot.

Oak & Ivy offers the best in fine dining under the direction of Executive Chef Paula Chamberlain, CC, of ​​Columbia. Prior to her current position, she was Assistant Manager at East Market and Goods, Executive Chef at Waco Ale Company and Sole Chef at Waco.

“Chef Paula is a classically trained chef, so there are a lot of Asian influences and South American flavors in her cooking,” said Sims.

The Colombian empanada is the most popular appetizer on the menu and features a fried pastry stuffed with shredded beef from Ranch 44, potatoes, tomatoes, and sofrito (tomatillo and spring onion) served with aji sauce.

Another appetizer, Tetelas Oaxaca, is a yellow and purple masa tortilla, folded around locally dried beans and cheese and served with fresco and fermented pepper salsa.

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All of Oak & Ivy’s sauces are brewed on site. On a high shelf in the restaurant, customers can see garlic that has been fermenting in honey (the taller bottles) for six months. Photo by Rod Idlot.

All of the sauces used at Oak & Ivy are made in-house. Fermented ingredients such as honey with garlic, pepper and seeds are stored in glass jars and displayed on a shelf in the main dining room until ready to use.

Other appetizer options are homemade cornbread, fried shishito peppers, chicken pate and sautéed mushrooms.

Two sizes of the charcuterie board are served with cheese, cured meats, pickled grapes, lambrusco, caramelized fennel jelly and fresh sourdough. The larger plate includes Hilberg sausages.

Chargrilled beef tenderloin with Thai peanut sauce and served with grilled baby squash in chili sauce is a much requested main dish.

“Our grill master is a whiz on the grill,” said Sims. “It cooks the thickest parts of the tenderloin to a perfect medium rare.”

Another signature dish is the bacon-wrapped quail breast stuffed with apricots, jalapenos, jalapeno mashed potatoes, and pipe tobacco olive oil.

“We’re the only restaurant in Waco that serves quail,” Sims said.

The newest appetizer on the menu is the chicken curry pancake with chicken, aromatic spices, potatoes, carrots, snow peas, onions and celery.

Seafood entrees vary according to availability. Orders placed on Sunday, shipped from Hawaii and arrive within 48 hours. Options include swordfish, scallops, prawns, grouper and moonfish. Reservations are highly encouraged for seafood and signature entrees to ensure availability.

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The Flourless Chocolate Cake ($11) contains sherry liquor, layered with ganache and cream cheese, and a chocolate glaze.

Oak & Ivy offers two dessert options. Flourless chocolate cake filled with sherry liquor, layered with ganache, cream cheese mousse and chocolate glaze. Add Pedro Ximenez Sherry spray for a slight increase. Apple cake has a dollop of sourdough ice cream topped with caramel drizzle.


The unique feature of the elegant dining room is the open kitchen concept. Guests can sit at the elevated “Chef’s Table” near the cooking area to watch the chef and other chefs prepare meals.

“The staff is expected to interact with the guests seated at the chef’s table,” Sims said. “They can’t have a day off!”

Wine and spirits bar

No elegant dinner would be complete without wine or spirits. Mark Moberg, the resident sommelier/house manager, is on board to help guests find the perfect alcoholic accompaniment to their meal.

“Mark is the real deal! It’s an act of God that we got him to join our staff,” Sims said. “He’s been instrumental in helping us get Chef Paula, too.”

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Resident sommelier Marc Moberg helps customers find the right wine or spirit for their meal.

Like Chamberlain, Moberg has an extensive professional background. He has spent 20 years in the specialty brewing industry. Moberg Wacold Brew owns; He was the brewmaster at Bare Arms Brewing and Waco Ale Co. and winemaker at Valley Mills Vineyards, Florence, Vinovium Partners, and Inwood Estates.

Moberg has carefully curated the wine and spirits list, and how they pair with the appetizers, entrees, and desserts on the menu. If guests wanted to try something different, he was happy to help.

“I visit each table to find what suits the guests,” Moberg said. “I am proud of our unique wine department. We have a wide selection and we are always swapping new options.”

Wine is available by the bottle or glass.


Hickory smoke billows from the glass canister, which holds the Old Fashioned Smoker. The nut smoke is infused with liquid to give that special old-fashioned taste.

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Two of Oak & Ivy’s signature drinks are the Expresso Martini (left) and the Smoked Old Fashioned.

The Oak & Ivy Bar serves cocktail favorites, but with a twist. The Smoked Old Fashioned is just like a standard old fashioned, but makes an interesting table-side presentation by arriving in a smoked glass box. Spicy Yankee is a margarita with mezcal, pineapple juice, and poblano liqueur. Mona Lisa Martina mixed with basil, cucumber and lemon.

Spirits such as Gray Goose Vodka, Maker’s Mark, Casa Dragones Tequila, and many others are available by the glass.

Saturday Brunch


A brunch option Pulled Pork Benedict ($18) is Eggs Benedict served with pulled pork, homemade biscuits and tomatillo gravy or Fresno hollandaise.

Oak & Ivy recently started serving brunch from 9am-1pm on Saturdays. Waco Pancakes with Dr Pepper syrup and Big Red butter is probably a favorite with the local crowd. The Pulled Pork Benedict is Eggs Benedict but with pulled pork and served with homemade biscuits and tomatillo gravy or Fresno Hollandaise.

Another menu option, Chilaquiles, features roasted tomatoes, chorizo ​​sauce, black bean puree, fresh avocado, and toasted tortilla chips. Scrambled eggs baked with potatoes, chimichurri, Hilberg sausage and cheese.

“Our baker is from Brazil and he is top notch!” Sims said. “Cinnamon rolls are out of this world.” 

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Waco Pancakes’ Brunch ($15) offers a pair of pancakes with Dr Pepper Syrup and savory Big Red butter along with two slices of bacon or two eggs. Photo by Ken Suri.

Oak and Ivy Wine Bar Bistro

13701 Woodway Drive, Suite #619

Happy Hour: Thursday – Friday, 4-6pm

Lunch: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m

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Oak & Ivy opened in June at The Outlook in the Bosque Ridge Center along Interstate 84 next to the Midway ISD Administrative Building.