There’s been much anticipation surrounding the opening of The Wolf on Broadway, a shiny new restaurant concept from Wolfgang Schaefer and Whitney McAllister, the owners of Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern.
And for those who’ve been tracking the opening, there’s good news on the horizon. Barring any unforeseen delays, the restaurant, located on the first floor of the Kinn Guesthouse at 600 N. Broadway, has set its sights on opening to the public for dinner service by mid-November with lunch service to follow in time for the holiday season.
Backed by a management team that includes industry veterans like General Manager Nick Witte, Bar Manager Erik Wickman and Executive Chef Kristen Schwab and Chef de Cuisine Val Bartram, it’s tough to believe that the new concept will be anything less than stellar.
What can you expect? Envision a grown up, date night appropriate version of Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern with a charming, beautifully executed interior and a menu focused on refined globally inspired dishes.
The restaurant, offers seating for about 50 guests, was designed in collaboration with THREE SIXTY, the design team behind restaurants like 1033, Hacienda Taproom + Kitchen, Dandan and Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern.
Inspired by travel, McAllister describes the interior as “Parisian Cafe meets Joshua Tree,” pointing to the earthy neutrals, peach and orange tones and pops of calming sage green which form the palette for the restaurant’s texturally rich interior.
Warm brown handmade Mexican floor tiles pop against slat-wood wall panels, which simultaneously express a brooding elegance while simultaneously functioning as an acoustic element. Meanwhile large pots of greenery add to the collection of natural textures throughout the space.
Beautifully upholstered wooden benches accompany wicker-backed chairs at tables in the main dining room, which is divided from the bar by mid-century meets modern shelving and leaded glass panes designed by John Schroder of Cobalt Glassworks with glass hand-chosen by McAllister.
Behind the divider, guests will find two cozy corner seating areas perfect for intimate dinners for two to four diners along with a cordial diner-style bar equipped with the same barstools found at Uncle Wolfie’s.
Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the space on both the south and west, making the dining room a glorious site as the sun streams into the space over the lunch hour, turning golden closer to dusk and washed with the light of urban streetlights in the evening hours.
Guests can also keep an eye out for offerings from Orange and Blue Co., the lifestyle boutique located adjacent to Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern. The shop will have a presence in the hotel lobby near The Wolf, allowing guests to purchase items to take home when they visit.
The menu for The Wolf on Broadway has been a year in the making (with hints dropped at pop-up events long the way) and it benefits from the creativity of Schwab, whose career includes work at Fiserv Forum, DanDan, Odd Duck, Hinterland and Goodkind, as well as her Phat Dumpling pop-up concept, which she operated during the pandemic alongside her husband Chef Jeff Marquardt.
Schwab not only brings a wealth of experience to the table, but also a deep-rooted interest in connecting with her family’s Indonesian roots through food. Meanwhile, fellow Dandan alum, Val Bartram offers a yin to her yang.
“We’ve been friends since culinary school and have worked together on and off for years,” Schwab notes. “And she makes everything in my head prettier than I could ever imagine.”
When asked how she’d describe the menu they’ve created, Schwab smiles. “We’re going for global fine dining that still hits all those comforting, cozy notes for which Uncle Wolfies has become known.”
She pauses. “Cute and craveable,” she says. “That’s what we’re going for.”
Craveable items include appetizers like butter chicken wings served with yogurt and cilantro ($16); the Rendang Roll featuring tender beef cheek and kerisik (pounded toasted coconut) wrapped in a pan-fried eggroll wrapper with tomato sambal ($14); and cabbage cups filled with cauliflower, toasted rice powder, noc cham, shallots, herbs and lime ($12).
There will also be offerings like sweet corn and shallot fritters with tamarind dipping sauce ($14), a dish which Schwab says her father made for every family holiday that she can recall.
Signature dishes will include Irma’s Chicken Sandwich, which features ground chicken flavored with lemongrass, Thai chilies and shallot which is battered in a rice-based batter, fried and served topped with iceberg lettuce, red onion and lime leaf aioli ($18).
The menu will make liberal use of produce, herbs and meats from local farms along with chilies and other complementary items grown by Schwab herself.
Those items will shine in dishes like Gado Gado Cobb salad featuring a grilled iceberg wedge dressed with egg, corn, cucumber, tomato, toasted coconut, puffed rice cracker and lime leaf peanut dressing ($19).
Dinner entrees will include offerings like scallops served with mango curry sauce ($34); black pepper flank steak with brown butter sambal, cabbage and sweet corn puree ($32); duck fried farro with duck confit, spinach, turmeric, sweet soy, egg yok, cucumber, tomato and shrimp chips ($35); and Garlic Indo-Mie featuring maitake mushrooms with egg noodles, sambal sweet soy sauce, miso butter, broccolini, pickled shallots, fried garlic and a sunny egg ($24).
Meanwhile, desserts will rotate frequently, showcasing items like ube cheesecake and the whimsically named "Bananas in Pajamas" (banana lumpia with pandan custard and condensed milk caramel).
It's in the details
Schwab notes that the menu was created to be very accommodating to those with gluten intolerances and allergies (protocols will include a dedicated gluten-free fryer, among other safe practices). In addition, most items can be easily adjusted to accommodate vegetarian or plant-based diners.
Schwab and Bartram’s dishes will be complemented by a beverage program overseen by Erik Wickman, which will include a curated wine list focusing on small boutique wineries owned by women and black and brown winemakers, a craft beer list with an emphasis on local and a food-friendly cocktail program.
“We’ll focus on balanced, approachable cocktails that complement or contrast the dishes in the best possible way,” Wickman notes.
As for parking, The Wolf will offer valet parking for guests, who can also take advantage of metered street parking and the Interstate Parking lot just to the south of the restaurant. The Wolf is also conveniently located adjacent to a Hop stop, making it easy for locals to get to and from the eatery.
McAllister says that The Wolf will open for dinner service first, with lunch added sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Opening hours will be Thursday through Monday from 4:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. When lunch service is added, it will take place Thursday through Monday from 11 to 3 p.m. The restaurant will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.