"Opening a restaurant together is a big enough commitment to make any couple blanch. But Amy Brown and Joe Wolf of Marla Bakery topped that: they not only committed to their new restaurant, but each other as well. In advance of today's opening, the couple got married in Marla's Outer Richmond space, bringing all their friends and family together to celebrate the simultaneous milestones. "The idea of having our wedding at a restaurant that we own couldn't have been more romantic for us," says Wolf.
Brown and Wolf initially met while working at Nopa, where she was the pastry chef and he was a prep cook. When she launched brunch service, he got promoted to line cook, and trips to the farmer's market and time on the line turned into dinners out together, and eventually, a relationship. The couple remained close even after Wolf left to work for Wise Sons Deli, and eventually moved in together in the Outer Richmond. Over a late-night dinner at Aziza, they decided to both launch a neighborhood business together and get hitched; Wolf proposed to Brown in Mendocino a few months later.
Confronted with the simultaneous challenge of opening a restaurant and planning a wedding, the couple decided to make use of their planned restaurant space. ("You spend so much time looking for a space and a caterer, and then we thought, well, we have both," says Wolf.) Of course, getting married in a restaurant space before it's ready to open has its own complications. Though Wolf says he and Brown made their contractors promise to finish by the wedding date, the restaurant wasn't quite ready, and he found himself painting and doing finishing touches just an hour before he walked down the aisle. Nonetheless, the wedding went off without a hitch. With the bride and groom having promised their families they wouldn't do the cooking, their friends, including Stephen Thorlton (State Bird Provisions, The Other Guys), Dennis Lee (Smokestack), David Golovin (City Limits), and their former Nopa boss Laurence Jossel, all contributed food.
While the newlyweds have now turned their attention to opening up Marla (we'll have more details on Monday), Wolf says that the fond memories they made christening the space remain meaningful as they open it to others. "We have this place that we can call our own, and sit in the garden where we got married every day," he says. "It was an amazing experience. I was lucky enough to be there and look into the eyes of someone who was not only my business partner, but the love of my life."