A restaurant space is starting to take shape at 4058 Tejon Street, where The Wolf’s Tailor is slated to open later in June. The project is Basta chef Kelly Whitaker’s first in Denver since 2014 when he co-founded Cart Driver, but later left. Four years on, the new Wolf’s Tailor is as exciting as that pizza, oyster, and Prosecco concept was. It’s also one of Eater’s most anticipated restaurants across the country this year. Diners can get their first taste of it this weekend at Stem Ciders, 2811 Walnut Street.
Friday through Monday, from 3 p.m. until they sell out, the Wolf’s team will be serving street food at the cider house. No reservations are required.
“This is our first re-entry back into Denver, and it’s a big deal,” Whitaker said ahead of the weekend, moving a mile a minute inside his transforming Sunnyside dining room. He has assembled an all-star crew for this restaurant, including Frasca Food and Wine’s former chef de cuisine, Kodi Simkins, and its previous sous chef, Sean May. Sean Magallanes, who helped Whitaker open Basta in Boulder, is back from California for this. And the list goes on. “I hired everyone that makes me nervous,” Whitaker says.
Next week, it’s off to Japan for research, but “not because this is a Japanese restaurant.” Building off of Basta and utilizing Whitaker’s own house-milled heritage grains, The Wolf’s Tailor will serve noodles as well as braises and skewers. Its closest inspirations are Italian spiadini and Japanese donabe, or clay pot, cooking. A custom Earthstone oven already sits in the kitchen. Between that and the robata grill, up to seven types of wood and charcoal will be utilized to bake, char, and season the menu’s breads, meats, and vegetable dishes.
Connecting the kitchen to the garden patio is a small order window, and from the indoor dining area, all cooking, baking, and pasta-making is visible behind a glass wall. “So you can look but not touch,” Whitaker explains. Diners can sit at smooth wood booths, the seven-seat bar, or outside by a fire pit and between garden planters. Whitaker and architect Kevin Nguyen are being careful to “protect” and preserve the feel of this historic Denver neighborhood as they introduce a new idea. Which means? The Wolf’s Tailor is an unobtrusive addition from the looks of it that will probably be doing a lot of disrupting behind glass walls.
- Dressed as a Neighborhood Haunt, The Wolf’s Tailor Also Will Be a Food Destination [EDEN]
- The 19 Most Anticipated Restaurants of 2018 [E]
- Basta’s Chef and Fortuna Chocolate Are Opening a Boulder Cafe [EDEN]