The Restaurant Celebrates Eight Years of Service
By Angela Lewis
Donnie Masterton arrived in San Miguel 13 years ago. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he started cooking in New York when he was 15 years old. He didn’t attend culinary school, but he had the luck to learn from some of the best, including David Bouley, Traci Des Jardins, Joachim Splichal, and his mentor, the late Patrick Clark.
After running kitchens in New York City, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Donnie was burned out on cooking and decided to move to Mexico to produce music and be a DJ. He ended up finding the beautiful courtyard on Sollano 16 and opened The Restaurant on February 29, 2008.
From the beginning it was important for Donnie to give back to the community, from hosting fundraisers to donating food. Since the summer of 2013, The Restaurant has been donating 5 percent of its Sunday proceeds to a different charity or school every month. Donnie is also passionate about farming, working with local producers, music, and art. He regularly hosts art openings in the private dining room, promoting local artists, including young urban artists.
The finale of Top Chef US Season 12 was filmed in The Restaurant, where they announced the winner. Donnie was a guest judge and enjoyed the dinner prepared by the two finalists.
Donnie is finally ready to venture in some new, exciting projects in San Miguel de Allende. Birdie’s Burgers and Taco Lab will be opening in the building formerly known as Casa Cohen. This beautiful, historical place will be home to designers and artists, as well as some great chefs and a 10-room hotel with a pool. Birdie’s Burgers will offer burgers, shakes, and fries seven days a week. On the other hand, Taco Lab will offer Mexican dishes focusing on tacos and margaritas. Donnie partnered up with his long-time friend Joe Hargrave from San Francisco. Joe opened his first location of Tacolicious five years ago and went on to open four more. Joe loves Mexico, and one of his goals with opening Taco Lab by Tacolicious in San Miguel is to create recipes and then serve them in SF. Donnie is also partnering with Houston Harte and Daniel Hernández to open El Vergel Bistro & Market outside town. This breakfast and lunch spot is located 10 minutes from the Jardín by car, on the road right across from Candelaria. Donnie is also planning on building his own sustainable ranch to provide for restaurants.
On last year’s restaurant anniversary, Donnie offered free tattoos of the birdie logo, which was drawn by one of his daughters when she was 5 years old. Donnie he would like to tell the community this: “I want to thank San Miguel de Allende for their constant support, their love, and their feedback. I’m so thankful to be living in this insanely cool town, and I feel so lucky to be able to nurture and satiate the community.”