A native of Washington D.C., Alex has been pushing culinary boundaries in superstar kitchens since he started his career working at Philadelphia’s Vetri Ristorante, considered by many as a benchmark for some of the finest Italian food in the U.S. After two years honing his passion for pastry and the art of bread baking, Alex staged at L’escaleta and Las Rejas, Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, before moving to New York to work with chef Dan Barber at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. During his tenure at this acclaimed restaurant and education center, Alex further developed a true appreciation for sourcing and cooking with the freshest ingredients possible.
A family move out West led Alex to Colorado’s top-rated restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, where he met his future business partner, Mario Nocifera. Fostering his ambition and desire to continually challenge himself, he moved to Girona, Spain to work at El Celler de Can Roca, a three-star Michelin restaurant, which was named San Pellegrino’s number one restaurant in the world in 2013, before returning to Denver to open his first restaurant, Lower48 Kitchen.
Mario began his management career at Aspen’s acclaimed The Little Nell. In 2000 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work at Spago in Palo Alto. A year later, he was hired by chef Michael Mina to be the General Manager at his fine dining restaurant in San Francisco, Charles Nob Hill. Mario then became the Maître d’ of The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, where he worked closely with Sommelier Stephane Lacroix, Chef Sylvain Portay and later, Chef Ron Siegel. During Mario’s tenure, The Dining Room was one of only 14 restaurants in North America to earn the Mobil Five-Star award and AAA Five Diamond award and was one of seven four-star restaurants as rated by the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, The Dining Room was named by the Zagat Survey as having the top-rated service in 2005.
Mario moved to Boulder, Colorado to work at Frasca Food and Wine as the Director of Operations and to help open Pizzeria Locale. “Mario has extensive experience in fine dining, but he also has experience running neighborhood restaurants. We looked to him to raise the level of our game,” said Bobby Stuckey, Master Sommelier and co-owner of Frasca Food and Wine.
Mario opened and transitioned eight restaurants between 2006-2013. One of the accomplishments during this time was the 2007 opening of Pescheria in San Francisco, which received 3 stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. “Mario knows the finer side of service, but more important, he understands how to deliver what the customer needs in a relaxed manner,” said reviewer Michael Bauer.