The Minnesota Restaurant
Association has bestowed its Restaurateur of the Year award to Chef Scott Foster, Patrick Woodring and the restaurant
enterprise that owns Hazellewood Grill and Tap Room and started Joey Nova’s Pizzeria.
Foster and Woodring formed the partnership that would become Eden Prairie-based Nova Restaurant Group in 2004. They started by creating Hazellewood Grill and Tap Room in Tonka Bay. They then added two Joey Nova’s Pizzerias in Tonka Bay and Plymouth, as well as Chester’s Kitchen and Bar and Pescara in Rochester. (They later closed the Plymouth Joey Nova's and sold the Tonka Bay location a year ago.)
Most recently, Tavern 4&5 opened in April at 16396 Wagner Way in Eden Prairie.
Foster is a chef who’s been affiliated with restaurants like Tejas Lund Food Holdings. He launched Twin City Grill in the Mall of America and has been involved with Lund Food Holdings, Redstone American Grill, Pier 500.
Woodring graduated with an Economics degree from Purdue but left the corporate world after two years to start a pizza business. He moved to Minnesota and, in 1975, opened the first Minnesota Pontillo’s pizzeria, which would evolve into the Davanni’s chain. After five years in Minnesota, he moved to New York and opened a variety of restaurants over the next 18 years. He returned to Minnesota in 1998 and opened several more restaurants, starting with Woody’s Grille.
The Minnesota Restaurant Association recognized Foster, Woodring and Nova Restaurant Group with four other individuals and companies at the association’s gala Nov. 25.