After launching a cookbook, opening a restaurant, designing a McDonald’s sandwich and making many regular guest appearances on the Today Show, former Top Chef contestant Ryan Scott is parting ways with the team at Castro tavern Finn Town in order to focus on the Ryan Scott brand. Taking Scott’s place as executive chef will be Steve Dustin, who came to San Francisco by way of New York in 2015 and quickly moved up from chef de cuisine at The Cavalier to become the culinary director of Big Night Restaurant Group, lending his expertise in upscale pub food to the menus at Marlowe, Leo’s Oyster Bar and others.
Dustin will take over kitchen duties starting in June — about six months after the restaurant opened — and a partial menu revamp will follow in July. According to Finn Town’s PR, proprietor Rick Hamer and team saw a need for “a full-time culinary leader” as they look to expand into additional concepts. When Eater spoke to Scott prior to the restaurant’s launch, the group was mulling plans and courting investors to recreate the “tavern with a twist” outside of San Francisco, including a potential location at a casino-hotel in Paso Robles.
In the meantime, Dustin will keep signature items like the double-patty Finn Burger and deviled eggs with house hot sauce on the menu in the Castro, while also adding some new “inventive gastro pub fare” and seasonal summer items to the dinner, late-night and brunch menus. The chef shuffle also signals a slight pivot for the neighborhood watering hole: in addition to the new menu, Dustin will be introducing new private dining options and building out the restaurant’s takeout business.
“Steve’s ability to take tavern fare and add his own unique take has everyone in the kitchen excited about him joining our team,” Hamer explained in a release. “We could not have opened as successfully as we did without Ryan’s contributions. This change in culinary leadership gives Ryan the ability to focus on his extensive national projects and commitments including television, radio, and follow up to his best seller cookbook One to Five - knowing that the restaurant is in excellent hands.”
Meanwhile, former Chef de Cuisine Jason Raffin, who handled much of the day-to-day kitchen operations, has also parted ways with Finn Town and is currently on a staging tour of local Michelin-starred restaurants. Consulting pastry chef Cheryl Storms (Pinkie’s Bakery) will continue to handle Finn Town’s desserts and oversee the house-made bread program.