San Diego-Based Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey Expanding Restaurant Empire Into His Native State Of Oregon

October 10, 2023

Despite stating his incoming La Jolla restaurant would be his last, San Diego-based celebrity chef Brian Malarkey is opening a new "cowboy steakhouse" in his native state of Oregon. 

Top Chef alum Brian Malarkey has purchased Walt Reilly's Building on Century Drive in Bend, OR, with his brother James for the price of $4.1 million. Malarkey, who has opened the majority of his restaurants in the San Diego area, will use the Bend building for the opening of Hawkeye and Huckleberry Lounge. Scheduled to open in early 2024, the new concept is described as "a hipster cowboy steakhouse with live music." The name is inspired by Val Kilmer's famous line as Doc Holliday in the 1993 western film "Tombstone."
The future home of Brian Malarkey's Hawkeye & Huckleberry Lounge.
Point Loma resident Brian Malarkey grew up in central Oregon and later studied at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Portland. He first tasted celebrity stardom when he became a finalist on Bravo's Top Chef Season 3 while working as Executive Chef of downtown San Diego's now defunct Oceanaire Seafood Room. The Bend, OR, native steamrolled his newfound stardom into his own fabric brand of restaurants with the launch of Searsucker in the San Diego Gaslamp in 2010. Malarkey went on to open and close more than a dozen other restaurants over a short time before he and then-business partner James Brennan sold off the majority share of their Enlightened Hospitality Restaurant Group to Abu Dhabi-based Hakkasan Ltd. in 2014.

Malarkey also serves regularly as a judge on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, makes regular appearances on the Today Show and Good Morning America, and was a winning mentor on ABC’s now-defunct The Taste primetime culinary competition led by the dearly-departed Anthony Bourdain. Malarkey also appeared as a cheftestant on Season 17 of Bravo’s Top Chef, dubbed the "All Stars LA" edition, and was recently on Food Network's Superchef Grudge Match cooking competition, where he lost to his longtime chef de cuisine, Carlos Anthony of Little Italy's Herb & Wood. Malarkey also served as the team lead for the West Coast team on the second season of Food Network's Beachside Brawl culinary competition, which aired over last summer. 

After the greatly-successful rebirth of the Malarkey empire with the launch of Herb & Wood in Little Italy in Spring 2016, Malarkey has continued to grow his culinary empire over the years. In September 2019, Malarkey and Puffer opened the $5.5 million Animae, an upscale French-meets-Japanese and Southeast Asian fusion restaurant located in the 15,000 square-foot ground floor space at downtown San Diego's uber-luxury high rise condominium building Pacific Gate by Bosa. Malarkey also opened Herb & Sea in downtown Encinitas in fall 2019. Puffer Malarkey Holdings also operate Herb & Ranch, a multi-concept food hall in Orange County.

Most recently Puffer-Malarkey took back the 7,500 square-foot Herringbone space in La Jolla from the Tao Group for an incoming French bistro & steakhouse concept named Le Coq, which is set to unveil next year. Le Coq was reported to be Malarkey's last restaurant, but he is also launching a mini-food hall dubbed Herb & Air inside the new Terminal One at San Diego International Airport. 

Hawkeye and Huckleberry Lounge is anticipated to open in first quarter 2024 at 225 SW Century Drive in Bend, OR. For more information, visit