It’s taken 18 months, but Bay Wolf will rise again — this week. When the legendary restaurant space reopens for dinner on Wednesday night, Bay Wolf will be reincarnated as The Wolf, a vision of Wood Tavern owners Rich and Rebekah Wood, who are longtime friends of Bay Wolf’s former co-owner Michael Wild.
The Wolf picks up where Bay Wolf left off, with modern touches — an open kitchen, slate grey accents, a revamped food menu — and deliberate nods to the original restaurant. The front patio is still there, and Bay Wolf’s signature duck will likewise stick around. The San Francisco Chronicle also reports that Bay Wolf’s general manager, David Johnson, will resume his post at The Wolf, and that the Woods have extended an open invitation to Wild to work the front of house “whenever he wants.”
It’s all an effort, Rich Wood explained in the restaurant’s promotional video, to pick back up on the ways in which Bay Wolf “oozed warmth, oozed graciousness, oozed family.”
Taking over the kitchen at The Wolf is Yang Peng, who has been working with the Woods at Wood Tavern and Southie. Esteban Escobar, of Town Hall, is replacing her at Wood Tavern. According to the Chronicle, Peng’s menu will offer updated California takes on French classics such as coq au vin, veal, escargot and the aforementioned duck. At lunch, you’ll find French-style baguette sandwiches. Peng told the Chronicle that The Wolf’s food will be more “fine dining” and “feminine” than that at Wood Tavern. (See the full menu here.)
Wild opened Bay Wolf in a wood-paneled Craftsman house on Piedmont Avenue in 1975. His and his partners Michael Phelps and Larry Goldman’s vision was similar to that of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse; Bay Wolf was a pioneer in locally sourced, seasonal California fare. Wild decided to close the restaurant in August 2015 in order to retire.
“It’s time,” Wild told Berkeleyside in July 2015. “This was my life. It was everything, but when you’ve run a restaurant for 40 years, it’s time,” he said.
Update: This post was been updated after publication to add Feb. 8 as the official opening date for The Wolf.