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Harvego Restaurant Group honors Mario Ortiz in celebration of 45 Years at The Firehouse | Food & Drink

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Harvego Restaurant Group honors Mario Ortiz in celebration of 45 Years at The Firehouse
Food & Drink
Harvego Restaurant Group honors Mario Ortiz in celebration of 45 Years at The Firehouse

Known for their commitment to quality and offering unparalleled dining experiences, the Harvego Restaurant Group is proud to honor Wine Director, General Manager & Sommelier Mario Ortiz who will celebrate his 45th anniversary with The Firehouse in July 2016. The occasion will be recognized with a showcase of some of his favorite foods and wines so interested guests to The Firehouse can share in the remarkable feat and enjoy a special tasting experience.  Offered July through September, the special “Mario’s 45th Anniversary Chef’s Tasting Menu” was developed in collaboration by Mario and Chef Jay Veregge, Director of Culinary Operations for Harvego Restaurant Group.

Each of the food and wine choices on the six-course anniversary tasting menu have particular significance for Mario and certainly all have a personal story behind the selection. For instance, the first course on “Mario’s 45th Anniversary Chef’s Tasting Menu” is The Lobster with Caviar Butter served with a N.V. Gosset Brut Excellence, AY, which is one of Mario’s favorite sparkling wines and also reflects his signature “champagne first” approach to start an amazing meal. Additionally, the fourth course is The Filet with Wild Mushrooms and Brandy served with a 2012 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley. This particular wine was selected because Mario wanted a “big Cab, one that is complex and balanced,” and he has a long history with the local winemaker that dates back 45 years when he first started at The Firehouse.

Mario reflects fondly about the past 45 years and looks forward to making many more memories – and new friends – in his important role at The Firehouse. He first joined the fine dining restaurant in 1971 as a part-time busboy and has worked at virtually every service position at The Firehouse. However, Mario doesn’t consider what he does for a living as work at all. “I don’t have a job. This is my life. I grew up here,” explained Mario who takes great pride the fact that The Firehouse continues to set the standard for fine dining in the region.

In fact, Mario considers himself more of an artist than a sommelier as he approaches wine pairings and selections as that of a painter who tries again and again before perfecting his craft. Well before elaborate wine collections were trendy, it was Mario’s passion and perseverance that first put The Firehouse and Harvego Restaurant Group on the path to become home to one of Northern California’s most extensive wine cellars that now offers 2,100 selections and 16,000 bottles. He also was instrumental in developing The Firehouse Vault, a magnificent list of very rare Californian and European wines for discriminating wine lovers in search of hard-to-find labels.

Mario can be found welcoming guests to The Firehouse virtually every evening except Sundays and Wednesdays. While Sunday is considered as a family day for Mario, he embraces and looks forward to “Mario Wednesdays” when he ventures far and wide throughout the region networking, meeting winemakers and essentially doing what he loves – tasting and savoring great wines.

“Mario’s 45th Anniversary Chef’s Tasting Menu” is available each night July through September at The Firehouse for a per-person cost of $99 (food only) or $139 (with wine pairings).  For more information and/or to make reservations, please visit www.FirehouseOldSac.com or call 916-442-4772.

Since 1999, the Harvego Restaurant Group has been serving high-quality dining experiences in Sacramento, California. Home to the area's premier fine dining restaurant The Firehouse, the Harvego Restaurant Group creates award-winning dining establishments that offer a welcoming ambiance, exceptional service, innovative yet approachable menus along with one of Northern California’s most extensive wine collections. Each of the Harvego restaurants offer a unique and memorable dining experience. With choices that range from timeless elegance to sophisticated casual, the Harvego Restaurant Group welcomes you. For more, visit www.HarvegoRestaurants.com

Named in Zagat’s Top Restaurants, The Firehouse is the most award-winning restaurant in the Sacramento region. Known for one of Northern California’s most extensive wine collections, The Firehouse specializes in delicious cuisine and premium wines, and offers a setting that features storied architecture and design. The Firehouse is also home to regular wine tastings in Sacramento’s only authentic underground wine cellar.  For more information about The Firehouse, visit its website at www.FirehouseOldSac.com or call 916-442-4772.

Food & Drink