Berkeley restaurants

Chef Kelly Whitaker, of Wolf’s Tailor and Basta, is planning a new restaurant

Kelly Whitaker, the Denver chef behind highly acclaimed restaurants like The Wolf’s Tailor, Basta, Bruto and Cart-Driver, has a new project simmering in the Berkeley neighborhood.

His growing hotel group, Id Est, plans to open Hey Kiddo on the third floor of The Asher boutique hotel at 4337 Tennyson St. While the menu isn’t fully fleshed out just yet, Whitaker said the style would be neo-American. But he also collaborates with chef Deuki Hong, a chef from San Francisco who is the author of the “Koreatown” cookbook, on Korean-inspired dishes.

“We want to tell the stories of different kinds of food without having a rigid label on the menu,” Whitaker said. “When it comes to a lot of the work we do in food, we usually don’t just throw in flavors of something we don’t fully understand just because it’s delicious. , so we like to work with people who have that kind of training, education and experience.

Like The Wolf’s Tailor, which Bon Appetit named one of the best new restaurants in the country in 2019, Hey Kiddo will grind its own flour and ferment its food in-house.

There will be 45 seats inside and a nearly 60-seat rooftop with fire pits and a daily rotating menu. At the rear, guests will find a separate 16-seat cocktail lounge called Ok Yeah.

“After doing a few trips to Japan, there are these clusters of food villages called yaitais, which means shop stall, and I really like this idea of ​​going to these places, being able to see all these different businesses forming a sort of a collective, which is kind of what I want to do with Hey Kiddo,” said Whitaker, who was also a James Beard Award semi-finalist.

Hey Kiddo’s name was inspired by Whitaker’s travels to Japan, although it is not a Japanese restaurant.

“Coming out of a lockdown and what our community has been through, people are so excited to be back, and we’re excited to be cooking and serving food again,” Whitaker said. “So Hey Kiddo is a nod to fun and playfulness. We’re not a Japanese restaurant, but after visiting Hokkaido in Japan, someone suggested the name Hey Kiddo because it sounded like, and we fell in love with it.

“At Ok Yeah, there is no cocktail menu, so [the name] is a general response when our team gives you ideas on what to drink,” he added.

Id Est Hospitality hired Kevin Nguyen with Regular Architecture to design the space for Hey Kiddo and Ok Yeah, which Whitaker said wanted to be funky and playful with an open-concept kitchen.

GM Development, which built and owns The Asher, approached Whitaker more than a year ago about opening something in the hotel. The firm is also a partner of Id Est Hospitality.

“The Hey Kiddo concept emerged as an amenity space for The Asher building, which is a boutique hotel as well as a shared office space,” said GM Development Director Ben Gearhart. “In addition to Tennyson, the Berkeley neighborhood needed a rooftop concept completed by the creative talents of Kelly and his team. We are privileged to have such a talented team to be able to partner with an incredible space. ”

Id Est Hospitality opened Italian restaurant Basta in Boulder in 2010, followed by The Wolf’s Tailor in 2018, Dry Storage bakery in Boulder and Brutø in 2019.

Whitaker would like to open Hey Kiddo and Ok Yeah by the end of the year, but construction and permitting delays could push that back until early 2023, he said.

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