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Chef Brian Malarkey & Chris Puffer (Re)Take Herringbone in La Jolla

The duo have acquired their old haunt. They will build a grand Parisian steakhouse. And then they're done—one final SD restaurant.
Courtesy of Herringbone

By Troy Johnson

It was arguably the most magical room they had. And now they have it again. They have massive, grand plans for it. And then they’re done.

Chef Brian Malarkey and business partner Christopher Puffer (Puffer-Malarkey Collective), have taken over Herringbone San Diego in La Jolla. They will rename it, remodel it, and reimagine it in a way that fills a hole. They’re gonna build La Jolla a Parisian steakhouse.

And this will be their final San Diego restaurant. One last show in Southern California.

Years ago, fresh off Top Chef, Brian Malarkey was the chef and face of the fabric brands—namely, San Diego’s Searsucker and Herringbone restaurants. Puffer was the front of the house man, operations guy, chief charmer, baby kisser. The restaurants were sold in 2014 to Hakkasan Group (which eventually sold them to Tao Group). The Puffer-Malarkey Collective didn’t get a lion’s share of that sale, since it wasn’t their own.

So they took a risk on their own place, Herb & Wood. And it worked, dear god did it work, spinning off Herb & Sea and Animae and serving as an incubator for some of the top rising chefs in San Diego (Carlos Anthony at H&W, Tara Monsod at Animae). And now they get back that special Herringbone restaurant space back into the fold. The room that feels like an old airplane hangar or a Roman bath or a place to hide prohibition hooch. The curved wooden rafters. The olive trees growing in the middle of the sun-dappled space, like wildflowers of Mediterranean fingersnacks.

Both gentlemen are known to put on a show. So their last should be a sight to behold. You might be able to see and feel it it from space.

And with the arrival of Marisi and Ambrogio by Acquarello and now this… La Jolla is at a strong simmer.

Located in San Diego at 7837 Herschel Avenue in La Jolla, Herringbone is open from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. To learn more about about executive chef Brian Malarkey, go to

Have breaking-news, exciting scoops, or great stories about San Diego’s food scene? Send your pitches to [email protected].


Courtesy of Herringbone

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