Waterbar’s Pete Sittnick Shares His Guide To SF

Pete Sittnick and his pal, former mayor Willie Brown
Pete Sittnick and his pal, former mayor Willie Brown

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Located on the Embarcadero with stunning views of the sparkling bay, Waterbar and Epic Steak are two of the city’s most iconic restaurants. Over the past ten years, the eateries have been the location of many wonderful events—for example, baseball star Hunter Pence got married at Epic—and have contributed positively to the city. Waterbar was instrumental in developing the Bay Lights art installation. The man behind all of this greatness? Pete Sittnick.

Sittnick is the managing partner at both restaurants and if you’re a frequent diner at either Waterbar or Epic, chances are you know him. He personally greets each and every one of his customers with a friendly smile and warm handshake. Sittnick has been in Bay Area restaurant industry for over 35 years, so he knows a thing or two about what makes an eatery a long-lasting success. To learn more about Sittnick, we reached out to him and asked him to share where he goes when he’s not at Epic or Waterbar. Here, in his own words, is Sittnick’s guide to SF.

Waterbar's private dining room
Waterbar’s private dining room

Where were you born: Lakewood, Ohio, but I grew up in Michigan and attended the University of Michigan, so I’m from Michigan at heart.

How long in San Francisco:  36 years. I’ve been here since 1982.

Neighborhood: Tiburon

Occupation: Restaurateur

Favorite Restaurant: Since I helped develop, build, open, and run Waterbar and Epic Steak for the last 15 years, I think I better say those two! I know, I’m biased!

Best Sushi: Sushi Ran in Sausalito

Best Italian: Delfina. I met Craig Stoll at Splendido when he was a sous-chef and I gave Anne Stoll her first job in San Francisco. They are amazing and still going strong.

Best dessert: Anything made by Emily Luchetti—especially the summer berry pudding.


Best place for a romantic date: Really anywhere I go out to dinner with my wife Kathy, but I’ll say Boulevard because it was one of our first dates and it’s an awesome restaurant.

Best Sunday brunch: Mission Rock Resort after the 9 a.m. service at Glide Memorial Church. Inspiration before nutrition!

Best place for a power business meeting: I never go out for lunch since I typically work during lunch, but I’m a fan of Kokkari.

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Hotel Vitale—great staff and killer views! Plus, it is two blocks from Waterbar & Epic Steak!

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: I keep my fashion statement pretty laid back. Nordstrom works well for me. Apollo in the men’s department takes good care of me.

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Harry Winston—new neighbor in town!

Best Spa: Osmosis Day Spa in Freestone with a sleepover at the Occidental Hotel.

Michael Franti and Spearhead perform at the Rocker's Ball
Michael Franti and Spearhead perform at the Rocker’s Ball

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Favorite Charity Event: Glide Holiday Jam, Rocker’s Ball (Do it for the Love), Always Dream Foundation Gala, Beyond Differences “We Dine Together”, and of course, Epic’s High on the Hog for Guide Dogs for the Blind (in June!) and Waterbar’s Oysterfest for the Surfrider Foundation (August 30).

Favorite Cultural Event: I am not sure how “cultural” it is, but helping serve at Glide Memorial on Thanksgiving.

Favorite Cultural Institution: The Bay Lights. I got involved in the early stages with supporting Illuminate’s Ben Davis and artist Leo Villareal. I helped the movement to make them permanent in 2016, and the best part about this is that I get to see the joy they bring to people every night!

Best Steakhouse: Epic Steak, of course.

Best Pizza: It all depends on where: Tony’s in San Francisco, Pizza Antica in Marin, and Extreme Pizza to order for delivery at home.

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Five Points Fitness in Corte Madera.

Best Massage: Reasonable Spa in Larkspur.

Sam's in Tiburon
Sam’s in Tiburon

Best Lunch: Again, I am almost always working during lunch, but I don’t mind spending a weekend lunch at Sam’s in Tiburon.

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Baver Limousine. Gary Baver makes it happen!

Best Museum/Exhibit: The Rock & Roll photo exhibit at the San Francisco Art Exchange on Geary Street.

Describe your city in three words: Energetic. Iconic. Grateful.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: I wish I could still answer Candlestick Park, but since it is gone now, I’ll say Golden Gate Park and the Marin Headlands.

All-around favorite spot in San Francisco:  The San Francisco Waterfront —from Fisherman’s Wharf to AT&T Park.

Best Aspect of San Francisco: Diversity and compassion.