Molly DeCoudreaux Says Goodbye to Baywolf


We accept that restaurants are difficult beasts. Their failure rates are topical even among non-restaurantgoers. We don’t expect them to live on, yet when we fall in love, we can never imagine a world without them. Baywolf was that restaurant for many diners.

Two weeks ago, after 40 years, a beloved pioneering restaurant served its final dish. One of its (many) former servers, Molly DeCoudreaux (on the subject of regionally revered things, she is herself a highly regarded food photographer) wrote this instagram homage to her formative time there. We are pleased to republish it here with her persmission.


Molly_D_BaywoldPlz excuse the shitty dark iPhone photo but I feel compelled to share- the restaurant where I worked for 10yrs, from 20 to 30yrs old, closed its doors after 40 years on Sunday (August 30th). I hobbled over for the last supper (“no hugs plz! I can barely move! Back spasm sorry!”).

Michael Wild hired me to be a busser when I didn’t know anything abt the restaurant business, was a scrappy, butch 20 yr old who lived in a warehouse and didn’t understand the value of fine dining, let alone good food. I grew up at Baywolf, learned to love food culture, & the delicate art of navigating a chef’s kitchen. I made some of my best friends there- like the lovely Rainbow. I love this place, it was like a family. Yes I ate too much buttery pommes anna when I was drunk on staff wine after a long shift, & yes I also closed out my vegetarianism there. Baywolf was California cuisine when it didn’t yet exist beyond them & chez panisse, it was nose to tail & local before anyone & before anyone cared. I learned abt green peppercorns, how to open wine, how to take a difficult customer & try, thru sweetened honesty & a tap on the table to gain their trust & explain their dish or why they couldn’t get a steak. Working at Baywolf got me thru college, paid off my loans, & steered me towards food photography- the nexus of my daytime art school world & my night job. I left there as an adult, & as a server w the best shifts soon to leave the business to pursue this crazy photography thing, & I always came back to eat & shoot & take my mom & sister out to dinner. My heart swells for this place, obviously!, enough to ramble like this. Goodnight ‪#‎Baywolf‬ & thank you. ‪#‎Oakland‬ ‪#‎40years‬ ‪#‎restaurant‬ ‪#‎duckconfit‬‪#‎pinotnoir‬ 

Category: Eat