Michael Mina Takes Tiburon with opening of Bungalow Kitchen

Tiburon will soon introduce a new concept in socially distant dining at a new restaurant opening with nationally acclaimed chef Michael Mina at the wheel. Slated to open this spring, the Bungalow Kitchen is being touted as a “waterfront community clubhouse” at 5 Main Street.

Excitement for the project is especially elevated, as it brings together two longtime friends with a deep history of excellence and success in the restaurant and entertainment industries, not only here in California, but also in other major urban markets across the country.

Michael Mina began making a name for himself as a chef in the ’90s. In 1997, his AQUA restaurant in San Francisco soared to fame, and that same year he snagged a James Beard Award as Best Chef–Pacific. In 2002, he established The Mina Group, a restaurant management company, with retired millionaire tennis star André Agassi, and it has since grown to include close to 30 buzzy restaurants from coast to coast. In addition to eight Mina properties in downtown San Francisco, The Mina Group operates an assortment of popular eateries in Las Vegas (4), Hawaii (3), Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Washington state, Florida, Washington, D.C., and Dubai. Mina also wrote Michael Mina: The Cookbook along the way.

Michael Mina and Brent Bolthouse at The Bungalow Kitchen Photo by Jerritt Clark

In a career spanning close to 25 years, Mina has won more accolades than this magazine has room to print (including a coveted Michelin star). In 2013, he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious academy of “Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America.” Impressive.

Mina’s partner for the Tiburon project and similar ones being planned for Long Beach and La Jolla, is Brent Bolthouse, the LA-based founder of Bungalow Hospitality Group, with clubby restaurants in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach, where food service has previously been outsourced.

For close to 30 years, Bolthouse has been a nightlife entrepreneur, breakout reality TV deejay, and holds a large scale event, the annual Neon Carnival at Coachella, a 10-year-old musical phenomenon that’s located just 33 miles from Bolthouse’s childhood home of Joshua Tree. Neon is a curated, invitation-only event that’s been described as “a county fair for youth, with alcohol and deejays.”

Two years ago, Bolthouse and Mina purchased Guayama restaurant in Tiburon and began to cook up the idea for an innovative dining experience that would cater to the communal aspect of dining. In November 2020, the Tiburon Design Review Board approved the plans which were obviously shelved due to the continuation of the coronavirus. It’s a given that, post-pandemic, the urge to merge will resurface once we’re all vaccinated; the Mina-Bolthouse team will be ready.

“Our goal is to bring a warm and comforting place that will feel like an extension of the living room you always wanted,” said Mina. “We’re excited to collaborate on our first, brand new restaurant concept and to utilize Brent’s deep roots in the industry with the launch of the Bungalow Kitchen.”

Bolthouse added: “Bungalow Kitchen Tiburon has been in the works for quite some time; we’ve long wanted to re-create the striking and luxurious feel of an elegant, exclusive clubhouse on an accessible, community level.”

Tapped to design the new concept is internationally acclaimed, Swedish interior architect/designer Martin Brudnizki, principal of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio with offices in New York and London. Brudnizki’s genius was behind the 2018 reopening of Annabel’s, the legendary nightspot in London’s Mayfair district, among others which include the Bellagio and Park MGM in Las Vegas, The Beekman Hotel in New York City, Pink Mamma in Paris, and the Four Seasons Athens.

Bungalow Kitchen Tiburon will spread across nearly 12,000 square feet on two levels, dwarfing the handful of existing restaurants in this town of 9,000. On the main floor, the vibe will be relaxed and semi-residential. Amid loads of natural light and a cool palette of blues and pinks, the dining room will feature eclectic art and artisanal objects reminiscent of what one might have found in the homes of the bohemian artists who lived and worked in and around Tiburon in the early 1900s (many in floating domiciles). Finishing touches of brass and marble will give the space a chic, upscale edge. On the second floor, in addition to a billiard room, a sprawling pergola-roofed terrace with rattan furniture and tons of greenery will offer additional seating and views to die for. Since Tiburon is mostly surrounded by San Francisco Bay, the views over the water to the city of San Francisco virtually guarantee it’ll become an Instagram darling.

“The location really guided the design of the Bungalow Kitchen,” Brudnizki explained. “To help achieve this, we included a few residential accents throughout the scheme, layering in fabrics and artwork—all with a subtle nod to the Tiburon area’s well-documented, bohemian past.”

And the food? As you would expect from Michael Mina, it will showcase California cuisine utilizing the very freshest local and seasonal ingredients. Menu items will include shellfish served chilled on ice or grilled over charcoal, and a “punch bowl” of crunchy garden vegetables with a gazpacho shooter and a trio of dipping sauces: Green Goddess, romesco, and lemon-poppy seed.

Photo by David Varley

You’ll want to try Mina’s short rib “Pop-Tart” topped with crispy shallots and drizzled with sauce bordelaise, or one of several signature pizzas like Pizza Carbonara, an all-white pie with Yukon Gold potatoes layered with Pecorino Romano cheese and crispy guanciale and topped with a poached farm egg. Last but far from least, diners at Bungalow Kitchen Tiburon can expect to see Mina’s must-have dish: a decadent lobster pot pie featuring a whole Maine lobster and assorted root vegetables swimming in truffled lobster bisque. Classic (margaritas, mai tais) and creative cocktails, along with an extensive wine and beer list, will also be on offer.

Details on the exact date of opening were not available at press time.