General Manager/ Wine Director/
Mike Pierce began his career in
years ago and has
been captivated by
the business ever
philosophy about and
friendly service was
by the readers of
magazine when they
voted Maverick the
best new restaurant
for food and service
less than one year
after opening its
Born and raised in New Jersey, Mike has worked in a myriad of restaurants all over the country in a variety of positions, from busser to server to manager, realizing the importance of truly understanding each job before starting his own venture. While earning his B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Vermont in Burlington, Mike became fascinated with the business nuances of well-run restaurants and after graduating, accepted a position as Server and Captain at the Sirloin Saloon in Shelburne, Vermont. During his time here he was responsible for the hiring and training of the servers and was praised by local food critic, Debbie Salomon, for his skill and efficiency as a server—something he reinforced to all of the staff he hired and trained.
After two years in Vermont and learning as much as he could in the position, Mike packed up and moved across the country to Squaw Valley, California, where he took a position as a server and sales associate at the Resort at Squaw Creek. Here, he familiarized himself with a variety of different types of cuisines, filling in extensively at the resorts various restaurants, including the five-star Glissiandi. He also used this opportunity to greatly improve his wine knowledge through tastings, seminars and intense research. During his three year tenure in Squaw Valley, Mike received forty commendations from his managers for going above and beyond the call of duty in his position—something he takes particular pride in and emphasizes the importance of with his own staff today.
Surrounded by great food and wine, Mike quickly became enamored with the business and sought to increase his knowledge about wines from all over the world. It was here that he began to develop his palette, taking classes and seminars, doing his own research and participating in numerous tastings. He has been passionate about wine ever since and continues to learn as much as he can and expand his breadth of knowledge. As the wine director at Maverick, he built the program around the manifestation of his belief that it should be easier to experience styles of small production wine without having to think too much or spend too much.
In 2001, Mike decided to give city life a shot and moved to San Francisco where he accepted a position as a server with management responsibilities at the soon-to-be-opening Sociale in Presidio Heights. Mike assisted with the opening of the restaurant which was a whole new experience for the already seasoned professional—acquiring a wealth of knowledge about the business and what goes into a restaurant that is just getting started. Known for his excellent service capabilities and skills, he helped train the staff and set service standards. He also assisted with the development of the wine list which he found especially exciting and rewarding. Seeing he had a keen eye for business, Mike was given additional responsibilities including balancing revenue reports, closing the restaurant, and ordering the wine and inventory.
During his time at Sociale, Mike became very close with Scott Youkilis, when they realized that they shared common views about the intrinsic nature of service in the business, and the same dream of open their own restaurant. It was here that the idea of Maverick sprang to life.
As the wine director at Maverick, Mike excels and takes very seriously the potential synergistic pairings of food and wine—something he takes particular pride in. He loves testing his knowledge and palette and is always up for the challenge of finding the perfect pairing for extraordinary dishes on the menu such as “buffalo wings” made with frogs’ legs Frank’s Hot Sauce. (Brut Rose sparkler from Michigan is the answer—a truly Maverick combo!)