by Andrew Morrison | I was up in Tofino over the weekend and was able to take a good look inside the construction site of Wolf In The Fog, a two storey eatery soon to open at the gates of town on the corner of Fourth & Campbell. The place has got the small town buzzing, not least of all because it has three ex-Wickaninnish Inn employees – former chef Nick Nutting and FOH staffers Jorge Baradiaran and Andre McGillivray – collaborating as owner-operators. They’re a talented bunch, and the location is as prime as it gets.
Despite the formal trappings of the owners’ shared past (the Wick being a Relais property, after all), Wolf In The Fog is aiming to be decidedly casual casual, especially on the 800 sqft main floor, which will seat 20 indoors (with TVs) and another 18 on the sidewalk patio. The same menu will be shared on the more expansive second floor with its large bar and lounge area (with beer and wine on tap), 60+ seat family-friendly dining room (complete with broken surfboard sculpture), and 38 seat patio. It’s a great-looking space with excellent mill- and metal-work in evidence (I love the smooth curve of the walnut bar), not to mention a killer view.
The upstairs is also home to a dream kitchen that snakes to the back of the building and a rear staff patio for the sweetest of contemplative, mid-rush breaks. As you can see in some of the shots below, Nutting and his cohorts – among them sous chef Martin Dean (ex-Wick, Ensemble) and pastry chef Joel Ashmore (ex-Wick) – can also look out beyond the dining room at the Deadmen Islets and the surrounding (stunning) land/seascape.
Nutting didn’t talk at length about the food, except to say that he really wanted it to be true to the spirit and feel of Tofino, which is about as far away from stuffy as is possible. I’ve eaten his food on several occasions (including in competition), and I know full well that he’s capable of doing amazing and often innovative things with locally sourced ingredients. So while I feel that it’s somewhat of a tragedy that he won’t be using all the tools in his creative bag making sandwiches and the like, I’d be very surprised if they weren’t damn fine sandwiches! What’s more, I don’t think he’ll be able to resist plating the occasional honest expression of his true abilities, which are considerable. It’s in a chef’s nature to show off, if only on occasion.
To round out the casual vibe that Wolf In The Fog is trying to capture, they’ve put together what sounds like a pretty kickass vintage stereo system and lined up a nice collection of vinyl to play, plus they’ve taken a page out of the Mamie Taylor’s playbook and collected colourful vintage, mis-matched tableware from thrift stores in small towns up, down, and all around Vancouver Island.
The team is looking forward to opening at some point in June.