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Willy Mo’s hopes to fill local niche

Former seafood restaurant manager fulfills couple’s dream

November 20, 2011
By JESSE HELLING, Messenger city editor , Messenger News

For years, William and Kim Worden talked about running a restaurant.

This spring, Kim Worden brought their idea to life in downtown Fort Dodge.

Willy Mo's, 710 Central Ave., is named in tribute to William, who died in 2009.

In moving forward with their vision, Kim Worden said she has sought to fill a niche.

The bar and restaurant, which occupies the former Hayloft, leans toward the country and western theme, said Worden, who is joined in the venture by her son, Cory Worden.

However, the main goal of Willy Mo's is a friendly atmosphere, Worden said.

"I wanted to open a bar that wasn't dark ... where you could hear the person across the table from you," she said.

Worden, who managed Fort Dodge's Long John Silver's restaurant for 22 years, said she aspires to run a "fun" bar with a diverse clientele.

"We've had a younger and an older crowd," she said "We want to have everybody, all ages."

The layout of the bar is conducive to providing something for everyone, so to speak.

Willy Mo's consists of two bar areas on different levels.

The ground floor features a dance floor and 96-inch television screen - which is regularly tuned to football games and NASCAR, Worden said. The bar also hosts karaoke nights and is working to bring in live music, she said.

"We want to bring in a band monthly," she said.

The bar also features dart boards, pool tables and pinball machines.

The second floor has more tables for seating, which are ideal for small groups, according to Worden, and opens onto an outdoor deck. It's also available for rent for those who wish to host private parties, she said.

"We do a little bit of everything," she said.

As with many bars, Willy Mo's is home to a signature drink: the "Wet Willy," a combination of dark rum, banana liqueur, pineapple and orange juices and grenadine.

The Wet Willy is a creation of Worden, who experimented with several combinations before finding a winner.

Contact Jesse Helling at (515) 573-2141 or



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