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.
Plz 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