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Dellar Drops Anchor in Lafayette


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Photograph by Melissa Barnes

The Lafayette Mercantile is open, and one of its big draws is Yankee Pier. The man behind the restaurant is Michael Dellar, CEO of Lark Creek Restaurant Group and a onetime Lamorinda resident. His company has built such greats as the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, One Market in San Francisco, and Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas. It took Dellar nearly 20 years to open an eatery in his former hometown, but he says it was worth the wait.

Why did you choose to open the fourth outlet of Yankee Pier in Lafayette?
We love Lafayette. It has just the right demographics and an intelligent audience: people who love good stuff, the right stuff. It was a year and a half from the time we first seriously thought of opening a restaurant in the area to the time Yankee Pier’s doors opened. Opportunities don’t always happen when you want them to, and we had to wait until we found a great building and a great landlord.

What is the concept behind the restaurant?
We call our food “fresh from coast to coast.” It was inspired by a traditional East Coast sensibility, but each dish is served with California freshness. The Ipswich clams and live lobster are shipped in from the East Coast, and live Dungeness crab comes from the Pacific Ocean. Yankee Pier selects seafood in accordance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, which recommends fish based on a species’ sustainability.

Do you welcome kids at Yankee Pier?
We cater to families—there’s a separate children’s menu and even a sandbox for outdoor fun. Kids get homemade ranch dressing with carrots and celery sticks as a complimentary appetizer, and then can choose salad or clam chowder for a first course. I have three grandchildren. They live within minutes of Yankee Pier in Lafayette and are frequent patrons.

What’s your favorite dish at Yankee Pier?

That’s like asking me which is my favorite child! I love everything. Today, though, I had a mug of New England clam chowder.

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