Who Was St. Vincent, the actual Saint?
St. Vincent of Saragossa was a 3rd-century Spanish deacon who is known as the patron saint of wine and vinegar makers. His feast day, January 22, is celebrated with particular enthusiasm in the villages of Burgundy, France, at an annual get-together known as St-Vincent Tournante. We named our restaurant St. Vincent because (a) it sounded cool and (b) it highlighted our deep appreciation of wine in a unique way.
Who Is St. Vincent, the Tavern and Wine Shop in San Francisco?
David Lynch, Owner & Wine Director
Sommelier and author David Lynch has added a new title to his ever-expanding résumé: restaurateur. St. Vincent is his first venture, and while the restaurant and shop will feature great wines from all over the world, Italy remains his first love — his award-winning book, Vino Italiano (Clarkson-Potter; 2002) remains the reference of choice for Italian wine aficionados. David is also the Contributing Wine Editor at Bon Appétit, where his “Wine Insider” column appears regularly.
David was most recently the Wine Director of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Quince and its more casual sibling, Cotogna, and was featured on the cover of San Francisco Magazine in August 2011 as the magazine’s “Wine Director of the Year.”
Prior to relocating to California in 2009, David was the longtime Wine Director, then General Manager, of New York’s famed Babbo Ristorante — the flagship restaurant of Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich’s B&B Hospitality Group. During his tenure, he grew Babbo’s wine program into one of the nation’s best, winning a 2004 James Beard Restaurant Award for Outstanding Wine Service. It was David’s collaboration with Bastianich on Vino Italiano that led to his joining the team at Babbo; previously he had been a magazine writer and a Senior Editor at Wine & Spirits magazine, where he won a James Beard Journalism Award for his writing. Having remained active as a journalist throughout his restaurant career, David’s writing has been seen not only in Bon Appétit but GQ, Food & Wine and many other publications. His second book with Bastianich, Vino Italiano Buying Guide, was revised and re-released in 2008, the same year that he released the satirical Wine Snob’s Dictionary (co-authored with Vanity Fair scribe David Kamp and published by Broadway Books).
David and his wife, Josie, have a six-year-old son, Ellis. They live in San Anselmo, CA.
Bill Niles, Executive Chef
Since the age of 14, when he started working in an Italian family restaurant on the Wildwood, NJ boardwalk, Chef Bill Niles has learned his craft by doing. In this the age of instant chefdom via reality TV shows, Bill has taken the longer, more hands-on route to the kitchen of St. Vincent, and his diverse experiences inform his thoughtful, polished takes on California tavern fare.
Bill was running the kitchen of Pompeo’s, the aforementioned Italian restaurant, by the time he was 17 — and continued to do so, at a clip of some 500 dinners a day, during his first two years at Temple University, where he studied Literature. While at Temple, he also apprenticed in a number of top kitchens in Philadelphia, realizing that a “formal” culinary education was no match for the one he was getting on the job.
In 2008 he made his way out to San Francisco and the kitchen of Bar Tartine, where he first worked under Chris Kronner. He was made Sous Chef within 3 months and served as the transitional Chef of Bar Tartine until the arrival of Nick Balla, with whom he then worked for another year.
Bill has been focused on being a chef his entire life, and his influences run the gamut — from classic French technique to British/Irish cuisine to Italian, he has tried it all, tying it all together into an essentially American sensibility. This is the hallmark of his menu at St. Vincent, which touches on many traditions without being beholden to a single one.