Fresh off their last restaurant being named one of the best new spots in Canada, the Wolfe brothers are ready to launch their new venture — Los Lobos.
Gregg and Justin Wolfe opened the Wolfe of Wortley last summer in a little wedge-shaped space in the heart of Wortley Village with only about 40 seats inside and out.
Chef Kyle Rose and sous-chef Josh Ward quickly gained a reputation for a constantly changing menu of shareable small plates with offerings such as charcuterie, couscous, oysters and summer squash as well as more exotic fare such as trout tartare, octopus, honeycomb tripe and beef tongue.
The Wolfe of Wortley has just been named to Air Canada’s 2017 list of the top 30 best new restaurants in the country.
It’s a major coup for the Wolfe brothers in a competition dominated by major cities — 14 of the 30 listed are in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.
The Wolfe brothers said getting named to the list was a bit of a surprise. The place was nominated by a panel of restaurant experts, but winnowing down the list to 30 is shrouded in secrecy.
“We had mystery diners come in. We had no idea who they were. They clarified a few things with Justin afterward but they wouldn’t let us know what was really happening,” said Gregg.
The next step for the Wolfe on Wortley would be to advance from the top-30 to the top-10 list, something that Air Canada will announce at a gala in October.
The Wolfe brothers are London natives and South Collegiate Institute alumni.
Justin toured the world as the singer for a heavy-metal band, Thine Eyes Bleed, before becoming a chef. Greg spent time in Toronto managing bands and booking acts for a Queen Street bar. In 2012 they opened The Early Bird on Talbot Street, a very different establishment featuring big portions of comfort food ranging from the Fat Elvis breakfast to the Turducken club sandwich.
Los Lobos (Spanish for “the wolves”) will be a big departure again, featuring “modern Mexican” food. The funky décor with a gothic Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) theme was designed by Stu Andrenelli, an old friend of the brothers and an Argentinian who runs an arts co-op in Toronto.
There are also nods to their musical past with a ceiling fan made out of spray-painted electric guitars.
Los Lobos will have about 60 seats inside and another 60 on the patio. It is scheduled to open later this month.
The location at 580 Talbot St. at the corner of Albert Street has housed a number of restaurants over the years, including The Whiskey House, the Coates of Arms, APK and The Rose and Crown.
But the building is coming full circle with Los Lobos because back in the 1980’s it housed another Mexican restaurant Marg Or Rita’s.
“Our motivation for opening anything is something that we want to see in the city — something that we don’t have here yet,” said Justin.
This article was first published by London Free Press.