“I wanted to open a more modern patisserie, with the technical influence of France and Japan with influence of California mixed in,” chef William Werner told us of his latest business, Craftsman and Wolves.
We think he hit the nail on the head—the space is open, clean and industrial with rustic wooden tables and outdoor seating perfect for San Francisco’s sunnier days. The concept is true with his menu as well. It’s traditional with a twist, and beautifully executed. Some of his creations look like they’re more worthy of a gallery display than to be eaten.
William has worked to take a thoughtful approach to developing his menu and really dial in to the products. “I put a lot of love into them,” he told us.
One menu item that has garnered a lot of attention is the Rebel Within. “A lot of people have come in and asked, why is this muffin $7?” William told us of customers who’ve yet to stumble across a write-up of the pastry. “I tell them it’s because it includes an egg. And of course there’s the sausage and labor that goes into it.”
The item came about when he was developing a savory financier, influenced by how many butcher shops work. At the end of a day, butchers will often take their scraps and odds and ends and bake them all together with a hard boiled egg. William basically did the same thing when creating the muffin, but the egg didn’t cook entirely through, leaving a runny yolk that would mesh perfectly with the solid pastry.
“We’ve held firm to what we do,” William explained to us of his pastry concepts. “People have asked if it’s too fancy or pretentious, but we want to educate people. That’s really what we do.”
At Craftsman and Wolves, the displays are situated so visitors can get a good look at what they’re ordering. “We don’t want to hide the product,” William told us of his strategically designed glass displays and neatly organized counters, “it’s the star.”
And if you’re feeling scared off because it all may be too fancy, the staff behind the counter is more than happy to answer any questions. Plus, their playlists should take the edge off—on the day of our visit, it was a 90’s mix with a little hip hop.
William is wearing the Bensen in Greystone.
Photos by Collin Hughes