5 Questions with Sai Viswanath, Chef of DeWolf Tavern in Bristol, Rhode Island

We caught up with Chef Sai Viswanath of the legendary restaurant DeWolf Tavern in Bristol, Rhode Island. See what he had to say.

Chef Sai Viswanath holds degrees in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America and from hotel school in Madras, India. Chef Sai is inspired by local ingredients and flavors, combining them with the intense heat of the charcoal tandoor. We sat down to ask him a few questions...

1. DeWolf Tavern is a historic location. Can you tell us a bit about its history?

DeWolf Tavern is located in a renovated 1818 warehouse built by the Bristol-based maritime merchants James and William DeWolf for their shipping business in the Triangle Trade. A boat slip originally ran alongside the Tavern where ships unload goods into both levels of the building. The Tavern's south side displays a massive indentation where the local ferry washed up against it during the Great Hurricane of 1938. The building previously occupied a lumber supplier before it was renovated into DeWolf Tavern in 2004.

2. What kind of cuisine can people expect at DeWolf Tavern?

Our menu offering is contemporary American with a delicate touch of Indian flair, utilizing as much local food as possible.

3. How did you become a chef?

DeWolf Tavern

I loved watching my mom cook while growing up. I liked the idea of creating things with my hands and seeing people enjoy those creations. From there, I attended the Institute of Hotel Management in Madras, India that had some cooking courses, and then the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

4. You grew up in India and came to the United States. What is the biggest culinary difference between the two countries?

In the US, the dish revolves around meat most of the time, where as in India (especially southern India) it revolves around rice, lentils or a starch.

5. In what ways do the dishes at DeWolf Tavern reflect specific places?

They're really a combination of places. For example our lobsters and Seafood Naan Sandwich, are locally caught, New England seafood. But the lobster is roasted in the Indian tandoor oven, and the sandwich is served on Naan bread, which we make to order in the tandoor.


Published April 19th, 2014