Eight months after leaving Alewife, the downtown tavern that he helped to open in 2010, Chad Wells is back as executive chef.

"I'm extraordinarily happy to be back. [We] need each other," Wells said. "We're a family here."

Best known for his 11-ounce smoke burger and his culinary experiments with invasive species like the snake head, Wells left Alewife to take over the kitchen at The Rockfish in Annapolis. At the time, Wells said he was looking forward to shaking up the conservative Annapolis dining.

It was harder to shake up than he thought, Wells said. "Annapolis was not for me," Wells said. "The majority of your business is happy hours and tourists. For me, that's not the style of cooking I like to do. You can only be happy serving so many crab cakes."

Back at Alewife since July 16, Wells has already added seven new items to the menu, he said. And he's looking forward to more changes and experimentation. "We'll be doing specials for beer events. I want to grow the business and grow as a chef," Wells said. "If I feel like planning something with antelope, I can do it here. In Annapolis, it's not as welcomed by the public as it is in Baltimore. We have more people who seek out food in Baltimore."

"Baltimore is my home, this restaurant is my home," Wells said," and this is where I plan to be."