Cozy new gastropub In the Wood serves elevated American cuisine

Elise Ulwelling/Staff

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In the Wood, a cozy gastropub located in Elmwood, opened Feb. 17, featuring a comprehensive menu including dishes such as wood-fired pizza and local beers and wines.

In launching the restaurant, In the Wood general manager Ben Maniatis said he envisioned local and fresh options on an “approachable menu with affordable prices.” Baja fish tacos, a burger served with sautéed shrimp and applewood bacon, and a pesto and goat cheese pizza are just a few of the dishes offered at the new restaurant.

The gastropub, which replaced the Italian restaurant Cugini Manzone at 2930 College Ave., offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options in an effort to build a menu of “elevated American cuisine” with “something for everyone.”

In the Wood server and UC Berkeley alumnus Greg Fredle described the restaurant as a “good spot with a nice vibe.”

Maniatis said he hopes that In the Wood will “liven up” and create a comfortable setting in Elmwood, which was the inspiration for the restaurant’s name. Maniatis added that customers have told him that the restaurant is “exactly what the neighborhood was looking for.”

Maniatis comes from a family of numerous UC Berkeley fans and alumni. He said that he sees In the Wood as a prime spot to watch sports games and to celebrate UC Berkeley game days.

Like the rest of the leadership team, Maniatis has a pizza named after him. His namesake, the Benito, features chicken, pesto, goat cheese and arugula.

Server and UC Berkeley alumna June Rosen said she feels that In the Wood is motivated to be a community-serving and charitable presence in the neighborhood.

“(It is) really cool that this place really supports local businesses. We get a lot of produce from the farmer’s markets,” Rosen said. “It’s great to show the importance of giving back to the community.”

Rosen said all of the restaurant’s beers come from the Bay Area, and the wines are from north of San Luis Obispo.

“The whole energy about (In the Wood) is special,” chef Phil Taddei said. “Everyone’s putting their whole heart and soul into this restaurant. It’s a place we all want to hang out in.”

He added that his favorite dish on the menu is the In the Wood Burger, which features bacon and caramelized onion jam, smoked gouda and arugula. His signature pizza is called the Big Philly Style.

In the Wood is open Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“I’m really happy with the staff I’ve hired,” Maniatis said. “It feels like family. If everyone enjoys their work and gets behind the food and loves it, I think people will love it.”

Contact Ella Smith at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @EllaSmithCA.