photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg

Thousands of romantic dinners. Hundreds of nightly specials. Fifty-five families. Twenty-five tables. Ten years of salt and love.


By Lydia Carey

Ten years ago, San Miguel dining was a handful of Italian joints, the Berlin Bar, a cross-section of family-style Mexican restaurants and fondas, and street food. Contemporary fine-dining was not in the repertoire. Not yet, anyway.

It might not have even happened so soon if Donnie Masterton had fulfilled his dream of becoming hip hop’s next great producer.

“Oh, you never heard that story?” he chuckles. “Yeah, I was going to be the next Dr. Dre.”

But fate always seems to have a way of stepping in. Donnie, who came to San Miguel burned out on cooking, with his mixers and his records in tow, soon realized that he was really only happy doing what he does best—cooking.

“Global comfort food,” “downhome gourmet,” “chef-driven”: the monikers for his food are just substitutes for “delicious.” The Restaurant’s dishes are coyly simple, elegant, but with decisive flavors that at once delight and confound the palate.

“I think the food at The Restaurant has evolved to become a lot less complicated,” Masterton says. “I just want the food to taste good, and I want it to have integrity. Like, when you’re eating it, you feel like it’s got place, that no matter who’s cooking it, me or my cooks, it has a really solid foundation.”

In the last ten years, The Restaurant has become a kind of gourmet Cheers, a local dive that everyone gets dressed up for, your favorite neighborhood hangout with perfectly pressed linens. Casual Burger Nights, born of the 2008 financial crisis, are see-and-be-seen events. The fine in fine dining speaks to the quality of the food, not pretentiousness.

Part of the appeal is Masterton himself, peering out mischievously from those thick-rimmed glasses, an easy laugh on his lips as he stops by your table. Then there’s the staff that he can’t stop praising.

“We’ve really tried to nurture our staff and see the potential in people. We invest in them and they invest in us. The staff knows they can come to us with anything, and we’ll help them. We know if we need them, we can count on them. We’ve really grown together as a group in these ten years.”

They also work with local farmers, artisanal cheesemakers, and microbrewers. They grow their own organic produce, support local charities, host artists, and spin music. You’ll now see Masterton’s name bandied about in reference to lots of projects—he has a countryside bistro, a taco shop, and a burger joint, and is about to open Fatima Cafe. He credits the continued success to just two things: his team and locals’ embrace of The Restaurant.

“I just want to keep doing what we’re doing,” he says. “My only goal for the next ten years is to keep making people happy.”

The Restaurant staff hopes you will join them on February 28 at 6pm to celebrate their 10-year anniversary.


Comments are closed

 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg
 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg

Photo Gallery

 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg
Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove