Images courtesy of the Mina Group
With more than 20 acclaimed restaurants comprising the Mina Group, Chef Michael Mina’s name is synonymous with fine dining. The accomplished chef, businessman and lifelong football fan is living his dream with two of his restaurants — Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub — nestled inside Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers. Both restaurants speak to the football fan in all of us. Bourbon Steak serves creative interpretations of classic steakhouse dishes, while Bourbon Pub offers a more casual atmosphere. Always looking to innovate and improve the customer’s experience, Mina has put a twist on traditional tailgating with Michael Mina’s Tailgate.
During 49ers home games, Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub transformed into a members-only club for seat holders, where super foodies and football fans paid $5,000 to be part of a gourmet tailgating experience prepared by Mina and a range of renowned chefs, including Joshua Skenes of Saison, Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb and Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, to name a few. With Levi’s Stadium playing host to Super Bowl 2016, we wanted to know what’s in store for Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub in the New Year.
You’re an uber football fan, so what has the past year been like having two restaurants that are part of this fantastic stadium?
Yes, I have been a lifelong 49ers fan, so it is a dream to have not only one but two restaurants at Levi’s Stadium. Both Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub have allowed us to interact with an incredibly broad cross-segment of football fans and take part in concerts and other activities on site here, creating a whirlwind of a year. Additionally, we have the perfect venue to host our Tailgates on a grand scale, which gave us the opportunity to do many things that may otherwise not have been possible. We loved every moment.
In what ways does the Santa Clara experience differ from your other restaurants?
While we have several Bourbon Steak restaurants around the country, none are as tied in to the excitement of sports as the Santa Clara location. Also, we have an incredible amount of farmers and purveyors to draw from in the Bay Area and a diverse pool of diners, ranging from technology executives to football fans to visitors from out of the area.
How did you come up with the idea for the Tailgate experience?
It was truly an evolution. I’ve been throwing tailgating parties for 49ers games for more than two decades, and they’ve evolved year after year into bigger, better, more fantastic and more once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
The Tailgate chef lineup was so diverse this season; how did you go about tapping the chefs you had on board?
To be honest, most of the guest chefs are good friends of mine, so Tailgate provided a perfect setting for us to hang out and cook great food together. It is so much fun to see my friends coming in from all over the city and the country to take part in Tailgate with us.
Both Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub must surely draw different customers than the other Mina Group restaurants; what do you want these customers to walk away with?
Regardless of which restaurant a guest visits within the Mina Group, the sense of hospitality is something that we want every guest to walk away with, and the feeling that they want to return again, either here or at another location across the country. We take great pride in the family that we have built within Mina Group, and the quality of the overall experience, regardless of where they visit.
If it weren’t football, are there any other sports, such as baseball or basketball, that you’d want to be connected to through cooking?
In some ways, we are already tied in to many sports, as our guests hold watch parties here at Bourbon Pub often. It is hard to choose a favorite above and beyond football, though I suppose basketball would be a close second.
Can you tell us what special plans you have for the Tailgate menu for Super Bowl 2016?
We are keeping this close to the vest, but we are working with the NFL on a concept that coincides with what they’ve got in the works.