The Haute Michael Mina Tailgate Experience at Levi’s Stadium

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michael mina tailgate
Butter poached Maine lobster by Michael Mina

Photo Credit: Bourbon Steak & Pub

It’s hard to tell who’s having a better time — celebrity chef Michael Mina or the San Francisco 49ers’ foodie fans who flock to the exclusive Michael Mina Tailgate at Bourbon Steak & Bourbon Pub at Levi’s Stadium on game days to enjoy a pregame tailgate experience like no other in the NFL. We checked out the ridiculously expensive feast last Sunday and were blown away with the fare, fun and fabulousness of it all. Do we dare say it is worth the $500 per person? Uh, yeah. It’s haute!

Yes, members, who generally are also season-ticket holders, have to shell out an additional $5,000 for the season (8 regular season and two pre-season home games) to be one of the lucky 900 tailgaters but they also get to eat and drink an unlimited amount during six hours. And where else can you see Mina serving his customers with a big grin on his face? The personable chef also brings in his celebrity chef pals, who are asked to create dishes that reflect the opposing team.

Chicago native Christopher Kostow, Executive Chef of the three-Michelin starred The Restaurant at Meadowood, wore a Chicago Bears jersey as he made Chicago beef sandwiches during the regular season opener tailgate.  When the 49ers played the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday, Adam Mesnick of Deli Board had a long line for his Philly cheese steaks.

Michael Mina tailgate
Philly cheese steak from Adam Mesnick of Deli Board

Photo Credit: Bourbon Steak & Pub

We’re not sure what guest chef Thomas Keller will whip up for this Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs but we’re sure it will be as big a hit as Chef Ming Tsai‘s Hoisin cabernet duck breast was last game.

michael mina tailgate
Hoisin cabernet duck breast by Ming Tsai

Photo Credit: Courtesy Bourbon Steak & Pub

In addition to main dishes like these, you’ll find Mina’s wife Diane holding down Diane’s Bloody Bar where bloody marys using tomatoes from the family’s garden are served, a humongous dessert display, a premium raw bar, a kid’s corner and a rotating local purveyor. Last Sunday it was a cheese shop from Carmel.

You see 250-gallon lobster pots (200 fresh Maine lobsters are prepared every tailgate) in the open kitchen and watch a hog twirl on a custom-built rotisserie that can hold up to 1,000 lbs. and is in plain view. Wherever you turn, there is a television — 70 in all. Music by DJ Clee of 99.7, the resident deejay who stands in his perch above the action, fills the air. Look up to the two skylofts available for rent and you see fans looking down, soaking in all of the action. It’s sensory overload at its finest for the combo sports fan/foodie.

michael mina tailgate
Philadelphia-themed desserts available for the Eagles vs. 49ers

Photo Credit: Courtesy Bourbon Steak & Pub

We caught up with Mina to talk about this unique experience:

HL: You’ve been a 49er season ticket holder for 22 years, did you ever tailgate and what does it mean to you to offer such an exclusive tailgating experience to your fellow season ticket holders?

MM: I’m a huge 49ers fan! I’ve had season tickets for over 20 years now, and we’ve had these amazing tailgate parties out in the parking lot for years. It was always a fun, informal gathering of family and industry friends with some amazing food. The tailgates grew and sometimes we’d have up to 100 people around our space. Then there was a move to bring these tailgate parties inside Levi’s Stadium but on a grander scale. With Michael Mina’s Tailgate at Bourbon Steak & Bourbon Pub, we’ve been able to build out the ultimate space and give tailgating fans a home with top-of-the-line equipment while maintaining that fun, casual vibe everyone loves.

michael mina tailgate
Raw bar at Michael Mina Tailgate at Bourbon Steak & Pub

Photo Credit: Courtesy Bourbon Steak & Pub

HL: We were surprised to see you serving your customers! What does that say about the kind of experience you want them to have?

MM: My favorite part of this industry is being able to create those memorable experiences for my guests so I’m passionate about staying involved in the day to day operations. We’ve started to form this kind of tailgate family, and each game day becomes a mini-reunion of sorts. I want everyone to feel like a guest in my home, welcomed to enjoy the game day festivities and comradery. Having guest chefs is the cherry on top, with friends like Ming Tsai and Christopher Kostow joining us and offering up some really amazing food… and some good-spirited rivalry as well!

michael mina tailgate
Chefs David Varley, Ming Tsai, Michael Mina and Adam Sobel

Photo Credit: Courtesy Bourbon Steak & Pub

HL: You have quite a lineup of guest chefs! Why was it important to you to bring in other celebrity chefs?

MM: For me, part of the fun of tailgating is that you have amazing food and there’s this comradery among friends and fans. For our tailgates, there quickly became this tradition of chef and industry friends joining us when their team was in town and they always brought something from home. It was an awesome way to celebrate both regions, the Bay Area and whichever team we were playing. All those tailgates over the years wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable without those friends and what they brought to the table. With Michael Mina’s Tailgate, I wanted to share that with the fans.


Fans, here’s what chefs are on deck:

Oct. 5 vs Kansas City Chiefs – Thomas Keller; The French Laundry, Ad Hoc, Bouchon, Per Say
Nov. 23 vs Washington Redskins – Jose Andres; (ThinkFood Group)
Nov. 27 vs Seattle Seahawks – Jason Franey; Canlis and Ethan Stowell; Anchovies & Olives, Bar Cotto, Chippy’s, How To Cook a Wolf, MKT, Red Cow, Rione XIII, Staple & Fancy, Tavolata, Ballard Pizza Co.

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