The Restaurant turns 8!
By Angela Lewis Serrano
Donnie Masterton arrived to San Miguel 13 years ago after travelling through Mexico with his family and fell in love with this magical town. Born and raised in LA, 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. With Patrick he had the opportunity to cook in the White House for Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela.
After running different kitchens in NYC, Washington DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Donnie was burnt out on cooking and decided to move to Mexico to produce music and DJ. That didn’t last long. He ended up finding the beautiful courtyard at Sollano 16 and opened The Restaurant on February 29th 2008. He still DJs once in a while, but for the last 8 years he has been running his restaurant.
Since 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 it’s Sundays proceeds to a different charity or school every month.
Fun facts? 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 of the two finalists sitting with Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi. Anthony Bourdain also mentions Donnie in the book “Kitchen Confidential”.
What’s new in the horizon? Birdie’s Burgers and Taco Lab will be opening in the building of Doce-18, formerly known as Casa Cohen. This beautiful place will be the home for designers and artists, as well as some great chefs in town 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! For Taco Lab Donnie partnered up with his long time friend Joe Hargrave from San Francisco. Joe and Donnie worked together for a number of years, Donnie as the chef and Joe as front of the house. Now they both own their own restaurants. Joe opened his first location of Tacolicious in SF 5 years ago and went on to open 4 more, with more to come. Donnie is also partnering up with Houston Harte and Daniel Hernández to open El Vergel Bistro & Market outside of town. It will be the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast or lunch, before or after visiting the hot springs, and get away from the sometimes madness that we can encounter in the centro.
“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. Thank you!” Donnie Masterton.