PABU Izakaya, the modern take on traditional Izakaya-style dining by Michael Mina and the late Ken Tominaga, announces a stellar line up of women stepping into leadership roles within the restaurant including lead bartender and management positions: Farrah Ebrahimi as General Manager; Natalie Lichtman as Lead Bartender and Yazmin Montes de Oca as Restaurant Manager. The announcement comes on the heels of PABU Izakaya naming Keita Tominaga, son of Ken Tominaga, as chef-partner of the restaurant following his father’s passing in May 2022.
The new team members reflect the growing number of women in leadership positions in the restaurant and hospitality industry and bring experience from within MINA Group, larger corporate hospitality brands as well as Michelin-star destinations to PABU Izakaya.
“We are excited to welcome these three immensely talented women to the management team at PABU Izakaya,” says Chef Michael Mina. “They each bring unique experiences and hospitality backgrounds to our PABU family that will no doubt continue to make the dining experience truly memorable. In a climate where hiring is nearly impossible in our industry, we feel fortunate to make this announcement.”
PABU Izakaya is pleased to announce:
Farrah Ebrahimi, General Manager
Farrah Ebrahimi brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in the Bay Area food, beverage and hospitality space to the PABU Izakaya team. Throughout the course of her career, Farrah has worked with high volume, corporate brands including Darden Corporation and Landry’s Inc., building her reputation as a senior leader while creating efficiencies, focusing on quality control, developing managers and making guest satisfaction a top priority.
Prior to joining PABU Izakaya, she served as General Manager of Chart House, San Francisco and Skates by the Bay in Berkeley where she is most proud of the relationships she cultivated with her teams and the employee retention record which directly correlates to her strength in people development.
Natalie Lichtman, Lead Bartender
Natalia Lichtman brings an impressive background in bartending to the PABU Izakaya team, having worked at some of the most renowned bar destinations in San Francisco including Tosca Cafe, Elixir and most recently as Bar Manager at Traveler at 25 Lusk. She also led the bar team at the one-Michelin star Nico restaurant, executing the restaurant’s high quality bar program which included developing cocktails, pairings, educating staff and more. During the pandemic, Natalie focused on sharing her knowledge in the beverage space as a virtual educator and host for Bacchus Wine & Spirits and created her own events educating participants on Mezcal, Bourbon, mulled wine and more.
Natalie has also participated in numerous spirit and bartender competitions in the last few years, taking top honors at the 2018 Slane Irish Whiskey Cocktail Competition and as a finalist in Speed Rack Season 9 in 2019, an exclusively woman high-speed bartending competition, and as a top 20 finalist in Cognac Connection 2020.
In her new position as Lead Bartender, Natalie will not only manage the restaurant’s full bar program, which includes an extensive collection of Japanese whisky, but will also put forth her own themed cocktail list, a defining characteristic of the restaurant’s bar program.
Yazmin Montes de Oca, Restaurant Manager
Yazmin Montes de Oca has been part of the MINA Group family since 2013 when she joined the RN74 team as a host. With an interest in food and beverage, she accepted a role as food runner to gain more experience on the floor and in the kitchen before stepping into a role which focused on a more elevated style of service, joining the front of house team at the former Michelin-starred flagship restaurant, Michael Mina.
Yazmin spent a year in Hawaii, assisting MINA Group in the opening of its first Hawaiian-based restaurant, STRIPSTEAK, before returning to the Bay Area to be part of the opening service team for the former Trailblazer Tavern, where she was ultimately promoted to Captain.
During the pandemic, Yazmin took the opportunity to keep learning and developing her skills, supporting operations at Indie Superette, MINA Group’s tiny market and cafe in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood. Immediately prior to taking on the Restaurant Manager position at PABU Izakaya, she served on the opening team of Estiatorio Ornos San Francisco as a Captain.
For more information, visit PABU’s website.
ABOUT PABU IZAKAYA
Founded by Michael Mina and the late Ken Tominaga of the famed Hana Japanese Restaurant in Sonoma County, PABU Izakaya brings forth a modern take on traditional Izakaya-style dining. The restaurant is a destination for world-class sashimi, sushi, grilled meats, a modern, seasonal cocktail menu and features an extensive list of sake, wine and Japanese whisky. PABU offers the finest locally and globally sourced jet-fresh seafood flown in from Japan’s famed Toyosu Market and a signature selection of A5 Japanese Wagyu. Keita Tominaga, son of Ken Tominaga, was recently announced as the new chef-partner of PABU Izakaya.
Located at 101 California Street in San Francisco’s Financial District, PABU is open daily for dinner from 4:00pm until 9:00pm. Reservations can be made here.