As the leaves turn and the temperatures dip, not only do I reach for cable knit sweaters and warm, wooly coats, I also find myself seeking out locations and experiences that echo the feeling of the season. I’ve already shared my love of Leo’s Oyster Bar in this post, but right next door to Leo’s is another San Francisco gem that’s the perfect place to cozy up this time of year.
Wayfare Tavern opened in 2010 and quickly became a beloved San Francisco destination for new American fare. Owned by Tyler Florence of Food Network fame, the interiors mirror the food – masculine and American. Wayfare Tavern is like the San Francisco sister restaurant of one of my longstanding New York favorites – Freeman’s – which I often describe as Ralph Lauren’s country home dropped in the middle of a NYC city block.
From the hunting trophies to the button-tufted leather seating, the ornate marble fireplace to the solid pewter plates, every detail evokes the feeling of an old-world watering hole. There’s a personal, collected feeling to the space conveyed through the mismatched chairs on the ground floor, antique hardcovers piled on the hearth and Titian-esque oil paintings gracing the exposed-bricks walls. A steady stream of warm popovers will keep you satisfied while you decide what to order from the menu, which is updated seasonally. Their fried chicken is always a favorite, and made Food and Wine’s “best fried chicken in America” list this year. Whatever you order, be sure to call ahead and reserve a table by the fireplace – that is, if I haven’t taken it already.
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All photos by Stacie Flinner for stacieflinner.com