Recovering addict and Washington, D.C. entrepreneur is dedicated to challenging restaurant culture

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Owners of The Argonaut tavern create new memoir and nonprofit to support restaurant workers struggling with addiction

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Ignoring substance abuse not only hurts people and their families, but often ends up hurting the business as well

Scott Magnuson and his wife Shaaren Pine co-own The Argonaut tavern. After twice being recognized as one of the city’s best bars in Washingtonian magazine and twice finishing runner-up in the Washington City Paper’s “Most Family Friendly Restaurant” award, it is obvious that they know what they are doing.

What is not immediately obvious is that one of the best bars in the nation’s capital is run by a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

In their new memoir, “Torn Together,” that the couple has co-written—Magnuson and Pine describe the bumpy road that led to Magnuson’s recovery after battling addiction since he was 14 years old. Their two perspectives join together to form a very real and intense testimony of struggle to save both their family and their business.

“We need to take the shame and stigma off of addicts,” said Pine. “Addiction is a medical condition, not a moral failing. Unfortunately, it is also a disease that infects everybody in its path. Because of that, everybody caught in addiction’s web needs help – not just the addict.”

Now that Magnuson and his family are in recovery, he and Pine have mounted a double-pronged attack in the battle against addiction. They are doing what they can to let people who are struggling know that they are not alone. They are also trying to bring attention to restaurant culture’s permissive attitude with regard to drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

“Those who work in the restaurant industry know that there is a lot of use of drugs and alcohol,” said Magnuson. “Not everyone does it, of course, but those who do are often allowed to by their managers and bosses. Ignoring this behavior not only hurts these people and their families, but often ends up hurting the business as well.”

In addition to changing the culture within their own restaurant, Magnuson and Pine have also created a nonprofit called Restaurant Recovery that seeks to assist restaurant employees who would like help in finding and paying for reputable drug and alcohol treatment programs. It also helps the families of restaurant workers, seeking to both challenge and change restaurant culture.

For more information, visit and

“Torn Together: One Family’s Journey Through Addiction, Treatment & the Restaurant Industry”
By Scott Magnuson and Shaaren Pine
ISBN: 978-1-4969-6584-4
Available in softcover, hardcover, e-book
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AuthorHouse

About the authors
Scott Magnuson is a recovering alcoholic and addict who co-owns one of the best bars in Washington, D.C. He is also the president of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. He has worked in the restaurant industry and struggled with drug and alcohol addiction since he was 14 years old. He has subsequently completed inpatient and outpatient treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

As a business owner and manager, Shaaren Pine is committed to challenging restaurant culture’s status quo. She is also determined to bridge the gap between business and community. She is passionate about adoptee rights and advocates for the families of addicts. She has written for The Washington Post and Masala Mommas.

The couple also owns Harborside Market & Café in South Bristol, Maine.


For review copies or interview requests, contact:
Matt VanScoik

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Matt Van Scoik
Bohlsen Group
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