by Young Lee / via Rawr Denim / photos by Taylor Reyes
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I first heard the name “Craftsman and Wolves”. It sounded like a socially conscious metal band that dismisses the notion that metal bands need to dress a certain way but at the same time, it could’ve also been a restaurant with an intimidating prix fixe menu where everything sounds amazing and foreign at the same time. I would’ve just been satisfied with submitting one of the two guesses as my final answer if it weren’t for the fact that I was looking at a dark pastry box with “Craftsman and Wolves” written in a sleek font (“wolves” was intentionally printed upside down).
This was in 2012 and I was celebrating my 27th birthday with a few friends who had brought the box with them and they were particularly excited about it. Inside was a cake in the shape of a cube that was perfectly formed, minimally decorated, and aesthetically matched the packaging it came in. It was nothing like the birthday cakes I was used to getting and almost looked too good to eat. Almost. We finished it in one sitting and for me, it became the cake against which I measured all other cakes.
A couple months and many cakes and pastries later, I was pretty hooked and had developed a delicious habit of making trips to Craftsman and Wolves on a weekly basis. In my mind, William Werner, the founder and head chef, was a wizard whom I pictured as a tall bald man with wireframe glasses dressed as though he exclusively only wore clothing from Rick Owens. My first time actually seeing and meeting William wasn’t at his shop on Valencia in San Francisco’s Mission district but instead just a couple doors down at Self Edge.
Instead of the magical mod baker I had imagined, here he was standing in the store wearing a pair of well worn 3sixteen jeans and a heavy Flat Head flannel enthusiastically talking about how much he loved Pallbearer, the band playing over the speakers inside the store. I was 0 for 2 when it came to knowing what to expect with Craftsman and Wolves and I began to realize that a lot of what William does regularly goes against expectations. // read more