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Fine-Dining Sommeliers Go Rogue with Pivot

This is the true story of what happens when Sommeliers ditch the suits and start getting real.

Sommelier John Vuong mugging with his new ABC License
Sommelier John Vuong mugging with his new ABC License

Recently Eater revealed a new spot in the works from veteran sommeliers Michael Ireland (Restaurant at Meadowood, Quince) and John Vuong (Ame, Gary Danko). We spoke with Michael Ireland about some of the details of their new enterprise, Pivot, and it sounds like it will be a major departure from the fine-dining backgrounds shared by he and his partner... a "pivot", if you will.

"As long as you know the rule first, you can break it," says Ireland. Lucky for denizens of the Inner Richmond, these guys know all the rules and they’re ready to go rogue. They plan to "try everything at least once", according to Ireland, as they create an environment that will reflect the liberal and open-minded vibe of San Francisco. The walls will be adorned with art from up-and-comers in the SF urban street art scene, and Ireland’s extensive record collection from his past as a DJ will provide the tunes.

Wine drinkers will find an impeccably selected group of 30 wines by the glass, from $6 a glass from the keg to rare and pricey finds from the proprietors’ personal collections. Chef Daniel Brooks will consult on the opening menu, as well as hire and train the staff until they secure a full-time chef lead. Ireland originally met Brooks at Quince, where he was impressed by his ability to put together incredibly creative small bites. Since then he has continued to travel the world, working in Michelin-starred restaurants along the way.

On the food side, the menu will focus on super high-quality snacks and light meals that pair with their wines. Oh, and there has been talk of Bento Box style tasting plates to pair with wines. As Ireland put it, "there are no rules at Pivot." Basically you can expect all the good parts of fine-dining (like great food, wine and service), in a super chill neighborhood spot.

All permits are in place, and as soon as they get their contractors lined up it is full speed ahead on the 47 seat space. There will be some light renovation to include a small patio out front, two levels and skylights. Opening in Spring 2015. 443 Clement St.

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