San Diego Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey Breaks Up With Searsucker & Herringbone To Focus On Local Expansion

March 21, 2018

San Diego celebrity chef Brian Malarkey has announced that he has ended his relationship with Hakkassan Group - the Abu Dhabi-based hospitality firm that purchased controlling interest in Malarkey's Enlightened Hospitality company in 2014. This will end Malarkey's involvement with the Searsucker and Herringbone concepts, which he launched in Summer 2010 and Spring 2012, respectively.

After coming to national limelight by making it to the finals of Season 3 of Bravo's hit culinary competition Top Chef, Malarkety went out on his own in 2010 and opened the hugely successful flagship location of Searsucker in San Diego's Gaslamp. Malarkey's fabric-named brand of restaurant, Enlightened Hospitality, went on to open Burlap in Del Mar in 2011, Gingham in La Mesa in January 2012, Gabardine in Point Loma in Spring 2012, Herringbone in La Jolla in Spring 2012, other Searsucker locations in Scottsdale, AZ and Austin, TX, and a second Herrinbone in Los Angeles in late 2013. In 2014, Malarkey and then-partner James Brennan sold their majority interest in Englighted Hospitality to Hakkasan LTD. Since the sale, Malarkey has had the title of "founding executive chef" of Hakkasan and would attend the openings of new Searsucker and Herrinbone locations. Last month, he was in Cabo San Lucas, MX, for the grand opening of Herringbone Cabo. Despite his resignation from Hakkasan, Malarkey still has equity stakes in the two fabric restaurants that he helped create.

Malarkey is now focused on his newest company - Puffer Malarkey Restaurants - a co-venture with longtime general manager Chris Puffer that opened joint concepts Herb & Wood and Herb & Eatery in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood in Spring 2016. With the announcement that Malarkey no longer has to be on the clock for Hakkasan-related promotions for the expansions of his original concepts, Puffer Malarkey Restaurants is gearing up for a massive expansion that includes a handful of new projects, including the nearly $3 Million budgeted Herb & Sea in downtown Encinitas (expected to open in early 2019), the estimated $5.5 Million Animae high-end Asian American fusion installing within a new downtown San Diego luxury highrise later this year, an ice creamery and donut shop called Unholy Doughnuts & Creamery, and a Korean fusion restaurant called Gochujang. Malarkey also operates two Green Acre locations and Farmer & The Seahorse - restaurants installed within corporate campuses.

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