Winemaker Dave Phinney to open fried chicken restaurant

Winemaker Dave Phinney is to open a 120-seat fried chicken restaurant as part of a development to create a “city” for 75,000 people on Mare Island just outside San Francisco.

As reported by New York Postthe restaurant and bar will be housed within Phinney’s Savage & Cooke distillery, which he opened in 2018.

The distillery’s whiskey, bourbon and rye, which are aged in wine casks, will be available at the restaurant as well as Phinney’s wines.

Phinney, who founded Orin Swift and the Prisoner wine label, told the news site that there will be outdoor seating as well as 2,100sqft of indoor space.

The menu at the fried chicken-focused eatery is being developed by Phinney alongside Chris Blanchard, the distillery’s chef and Master Sommelier.

The restaurant will serve two types of fried chicken with a selection of sides.

It forms part of a project to develop part of a 3-mile stretch of land outside San Francisco. Phinney together with business partner billionaire Gaylon Lawrence Jr., own 800 acres on Mare Island including a golf course.

Lawrence bought Napa Valley’s Heitz Cellars in April 2018 for a rumoured US$180 million. The following year Heitz acquired 54-acre Wildwood Vineyard in Rutherford for a reported US$25 million from previous owner Treasury Wine Estates. Lawrence also bought Chardonnay hotspot Haynes Vineyard in Coombsville.

Now both Lawrence and Phinney want to turn Mare Island into a food and drink destination with potential plans for a coffee roaster, artists’ studios, public park, leather goods business and butcher.

Mare Island was bought by the US Navy in 1853 as a site for its shipyard. In 1993 President Clinton approved plans to close the site which was scheduled for 1 April 1995. Phinney first discovered the site in 2015, and has used the abandoned brick warehouses as the base for his distillery.

Read more:

THE STORIES BEHIND ORIN SWIFT’S QUIRKIEST WINE LABELS

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