The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2015

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Page 138 of 140

138  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2015 W hen Maureen Donegan joined the Presidio Social Club as General Manager three years ago, she immediately set off to accomplish exactly what she's always been best at: making people happy. With years of experience, including a period working for Wolfgang Puck at the iconic San Francisco restaurant Postrio—during which time she met Presidio Social Club owner Ray Tang—Donegan understands her clientele's desire for comfortable, reliable selections, especially when it comes to her wine lists. "I like to sell safe things that balance well with the food and that are consistent. I used to change a majority of the list seasonally, but that's difficult to do and my customers don't like that much change," she shares honestly. "They want their favorites to be there for a few months, and it's nice for me because I don't have to re-educate all the time," Donegan continues. This formula works effectively at Presidio Social Club, an inviting urban oasis nestled within the beautiful Presidio National Park, where the well-traveled clientele has trained their taste buds to recognize good wine at a good price. And with a menu that Donegan calls "com- fort food classic," guests are constantly expressing their happiness and approval—something that Maureen Donegan loves to hear—that and the chirping of the Presidio's extremely diverse and beautiful bird population, of course. THE "5" LIST Maureen Donegan's Top Five Faves The trend of bitters being used as a balancing ingredient in cocktails. The willingness of guests to try a new wine on my recom- mendation, out of trust. People who smile and say, "please" and "thank you." Regulars who become restau- rant "family." A return to whole, healthy, food and simplicity, from foam and fantasy. Maureen Donegan's Top Five Pet Peeves Overly oaked and/or high alcohol wines (except dessert wines). Customers who are rude to restaurant employees. Laziness in execution—in food, alcohol or service. Lack of good late-night restau- rants—although I understand why. Large strollers. 3 4 5 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 Maureen Donegan Taking Inventory with. . . GENERAL MANAGER, PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB, SAN FRANCISCO, CA Maureen Donegan likes making people happy at Presidio Social Club. by Brian Kustera PHOTO COURTESY OF PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB

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