|Chef Brian Malarkey|
June 22, 2012
San Diego's very own 'Top Chef' and restaurateur extraordinaire Brian Malarkey is expanding his empire east to Arizona, where along with his partner and nightlife specialist James Brennan, the pair will be opening a Scottsdale-based Searsucker location in the near future.
Malarkey and Brennan have already opened five restaurant concepts in San Diego in the past 2 years, including Searsucker, Burlap, Gingham, Gabardine and Herringbone, and the Scottsdale address brings the number of locations in his mini-empire to six. Malarkey promises "approachable food in a social and comfortable environment" for Searsucker, which will take over the 9,500-square-foot space that used to be the lobby of the Camelback Tower office building (next to Scottsdale Fashion Square on Camelback Road just west of Goldwater Boulevard).
|Searsucker San Diego|
"Approachable" translates to classic new-American cuisine, craft beer, handmade cocktails and global wines, served in a vintage Americana/American West decor with a late-night menu and music until 2 a.m. on weekends. Last year, a Time magazine online restaurant column named Searsucker one of its 10 hottest new restaurants for 2011, citing its "serious star power" and describing its dishes as "a melange of fun and flavor."
Arizona customers visiting Malarkey's San Diego restaurants prompted him to expand to the Valley. "A huge number of people kept coming in saying, 'You need to be where I live in Scottsdale,' " Malarkey said.
Searsucker boasts its signature dishes, but Malarkey said the new eatery will not be a duplicate of the original. "Whichever chef we hire locally will direct his own vibe," he said. "We will trust him or her to be hip to what's cool and happening in the area. I'll share my ideas, and then open it to interpretation, let him take it for a drive."
Interviews have not yet begun, but hopeful chefs are offered this: "I'm looking for a really energetic, young, cool chef," Malarkey said. "An up-and-comer who knows how to handle volume."
|Marrow Bone with Sea Salt|
Malarkey calls his cooking style laid-back, with "a re-imagined twist," for a menu divided into such categories as Bites, Smalls, Greens, Ocean, Ranch and Farm. The line-up will be altered daily through lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, but some San Diego staples include marrow bone with sea salt and onion jam or peaches ($12); a salad of spinach, egg, bacon, mushroom and sweetbreads ($12); and slow-braised pork butt with warm apple salad and bacon emulsion ($24).
As for the name and down-home ambiance, Searsucker marketing materials say that the effort is to "create a restaurant that doesn't take itself too seriously, comfortable and worn, yet classic. Not unlike seersucker, a paradox in itself, a smooth and rough material, originally worn by the poor, then adopted by the rich and now accessible to all."
The restaurant already has one local fan.
"Searsucker will be a wonderful addition to Scottsdale's impressive lineup of world-class restaurants," Scottsdale Mayor W.J. "Jim" Lane said. "We are certainly honored to be the location of their first expansion out of San Diego, and I look forward to trying the food and enjoying the atmosphere."
If all goes well with Scottsdale Searsucker, the Valley might get more Malarkey concepts, too. The chef said he expects a national expansion of 15 more restaurants over the next five years.