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Mason Pacific to Reopen With Head Chef Max Mackinnon

The chic Russian Hill spot will return this summer with a James Beard nominee and two star sommeliers

Nick Vasilopoulos

After suffering a small fire back in March, Russian Hill's wine-centric bistro Mason Pacific will roar back to life early this summer with Chef Max Mackinnon taking over in the kitchen. The California-born Mackinnon comes to San Francisco from Burlington, Vermont, where he picked up a Best New Restaurant nod from the James Beard Foundation back in 2012 as the chef/owner of Pistou.

After Pistou closed in 2014, Mackinnon spent the interim at Restaurant Ralae in Copenhagen, Fish & Game in Hudson, New York and most recently Washington D.C. hotspot Rose's Luxury. Now that he's back in his native California, Mackinnon says he's looking to "create a neighborhood restaurant that's worth traveling for." Neighbors and travelers alike can expect to see dishes like Santa Barbara sea urchin with potato, garlic and seaweed; braised lamb with flowering broccoli and citrus; and dry-aged Liberty Farms duck with eggplant and turnips.

Before the kitchen fire, Mason Pacific owner Jay Thomson tapped some impressive wine talent in Somm star Dustin Wilson and RN74's Eric Railsback to flesh out the spot as a destination for oenophiles, so expect to see their "Desert Island" wine list to feature prominently here as well.

Meanwhile, opening chef Sean McTiernan is heading on to a new, currently unannounced project in the Florida Keys, but he'll always be with us on Instagram.