The Salt Line in Washington, D.C., executive chef Kyle Bailey announced that Mike O’Brien has joined the kitchen team as chef de cuisine ahead of the restaurant opening this spring. After spending his holidays and summers in Cape Cod, it is fitting for O’Brien to return to his roots and oversee the New England-inspired dishes.
With over 20 years of industry experience, O’Brien’s diverse culinary career has taken him all over the United States. He worked in restaurants throughout college in upstate New York and moved to Boston upon graduation. O’Brien moved to DC in 2002, where he worked in a variety of outstanding restaurants, gaining experience in numerous front of house positions, until 2006 when he went on to attend culinary school at Johnson & Wales in Charlotte, North Carolina. After finishing his culinary training, O’Brien was drawn back to the nation’s capital where he expanded his culinary portfolio at The Liberty Tavern in Arlington, Virginia, and the award-winning Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt hotel, before joining Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) as Bailey’s sous chef at the much-lauded Birch & Barley.
After parting ways with NRG following a stint as chef de cuisine at the group’s Arlington restaurants Tallula and Eat Bar, O’Brien accepted a role at CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, where he served as its chef de partie before moving to San Francisco. O’Brien went on to open Mikkeller Bar as its executive chef, receiving 2.5 stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. While running the Mikkeller Bar kitchen, he was the consulting chef at the Trappist as well as chef/owner of Berkley’s Perdition Smokehouse where he oversaw not only the kitchen but a 40-tap draft beer program.
Upon hearing of an opportunity to once again work under longtime colleague and friend Kyle Bailey, O’Brien left his post as executive chef of Monk’s Kettle in San Francisco and returned to DC where he has been recipe testing for The Salt Line’s forthcoming menu. Bailey says, “I am beyond excited to work with Mike again. His experiences over the past few years have given him an impressive skill set. We have a solid history of collaboration together and I look forward to unveiling this menu with him.”