Patrons of Cody’s Restaurant at White Oaks experience quality – and many times unique – dishes in a well-designed, cozy atmosphere. What they don’t see is what goes on behind the scenes to bring those appetizers, entrees and side dishes to loyal locals and city visitors.
Owner Cody Thrasher said the kitchen staff is listening to music to inspire creativity and perfection.
“No recipes are written down at all – no sauces or anything,” he said. “We teach our young chefs and cooks they need to taste everything. Sure, the first spoonful of risotto might taste pretty good, but will it be as good by the 14th spoonful?”
It’s important to Thrasher to offer menu items that aren’t always readily available at local eateries.
“For example, we’ve been doing Venison Yakatori – a Japanese term for barbecue over coal. We use little eight-inch skewers with little pieces of meat cooked a bunch over the coals. It’s an extensive process,” he said. “Basically, we pull off every little bit of sinew and silver skin to make it palatable enough. It’s a minuscule piece of meat that nobody wants to take the time to do it.”
Thrasher sources his venison from a Jane Lew vendor and his beef from McCray Cattle Company in Anmoore. Buying local is important. Growing his own vegetables and herbs is too.
“I’ve become quite an extensive gardener, growing throughout the year – Kajari melons, green beans, international basil, purple potatoes, a medley of hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes, little Thai cucumbers, bock choy and more right in the middle of Morgantown. Our backyard overlooks the Mountaineer practice field,” he said.
Cody’s menu is widespread, but he shares some of his popular items which include crab ragu, tips & blue, and popular since his early days with Cody’s Food Truck, tacos.
“We also sell a lot of anything with pork belly on it – rice, noodles or even by itself. We’ve perfected it and worked hard over the years and it’s really where we want it,” he said. “Another big one is rack of lamb. It’s surprising how often we sell it and have been since the beginning of winter.”
At the present time, Thrasher is sharing chef duties with just one other individual, Karl Webb.
“I’d like to sing his praises a little. He works such a detailed, complicated menu and does the work of two to three people. I’m fortunate to have had him for the past six years or so,” Thrasher said.
 Thrasher’s wife Michelle Mullainari also contributes to the restaurant’s success. An occupational therapist by trade, she is also a professional level baker and can also make a great cocktail.
The bar which features craft beer and cocktails is, in itself, a reason to visit.
“We are the only restaurant selling alcohol on that side of the interstate. There aren’t many places you can sit down and drink a proper cocktail,” he said. “We make seven different simple syrups that we always have on deck. We’re always workshopping ideas on how to incorporate them.”
Over the past eight years, Thrasher has learned what foods sell better at certain times of the year. He rotates the menu every six months.
“In the dead of winter, people love pot roast, but nobody wants to eat that in August,” he said. “And we know that nobody eats turkey for five months following Thanksgiving.”
He has also learned what pieces of restaurant equipment perform the best for his needs and to keep his kitchen at peak performance, he has switched up equipment and kitchen design from time to time. The featured star of that kitchen is a 10-burner 1962 Garland Gas Range.
“I drove to Ohio to buy it from a church that never used it,” he said.
Much of Thrasher’s menu inspiration comes from his travels including  – but not limited to -Turkey, Ireland, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“I bounced around a handful of countries in southeast Asia. I’d work in hostiles, so I picked up a little bit of the Thai language,” he said.
Thrasher said it’s hard to believe he opened Cody’s nearly eight years ago. Located near several hotels, United Hospital Center, and the FBI, the restaurant has an influx of visitors from all over who seem to appreciate Cody’s quality, cultural background.
“People say things like we really didn’t know where to eat when we came to West Virginia and we’re glad we found something really cool here,” he said.
In addition to running his business, Thrasher and his wife have two young boys under the age of 2. Henry and Walter. As he knows just how fast time flies, he has decided to make a change in his hours to be able to spend quality time with them.
Located on Shaner Drive in White Oaks of Bridgeport, Cody’s is open 11-2 and 4-8:30 Wednesday and Thursday, 11-2 and 4-9 Friday, 4-9 Saturday, and 10-2 for Sunday brunch.