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Mario Vega, Lake House Kitchen + Tavern

Mario Vega

Lake House Kitchen + Tavern

Mario was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He grew up in a restaurant family and worked part time through high school and college bartending and serving. He graduated from UC Davis with an Economics Degree and entered the management program at the Stanford Park Hotel. Mario worked my way up the ranks in operations management with Left Bank Restaurants and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood. He sought out culinary training from  the great chefs he was fortunate to work under and alongside as he always wanted to own his own restaurant. He developed and opened Mario’s Ocean Club upon moving to Denver, which was a lifelong dream. When a location in Clement Park became available, he was able to realize another dream of developing  a restaurant with his life long friends and mentors Kevin and Kate Wessel. Together they created Lake House Kitchen + Tavern and have their next concept in development. Mario considers himself a Restaurateur, but if a chef is what a chef does…


Panelist Picks:

With Mario Vega

Week 3: What are your Top Favorite Burgers in Colorado?


  1. Lake House Kitchen + Tavern – LH Burger, yes it’s our burger but it’s on the menu for a reason. Griddle seared cheese curds over a half pound patty. Pickle chips, mayo, arugula and red onion on a Harvest Moon Brioche Bun.
  2. Shanahan’s – Their prime burger, the Gruyère and cheddar cheese with applewood smoked bacon. It’s Bad and Boujee!
  3. Ted’s – I do the Green and Hot Bison Burger M/R. It’s got pepper jack, jalapeños, guac and sriracha aioli. I like the heat!
  4. In-n-Out – Animal Style, it’s nostalgic for me. Family trips to Disneyland and In-n-Out, when you could only get them in Southern California.


Week 2: What are your top 3 Favorite Spots to Grab a Cocktail?


  1. Social Bar & Lounge – In my hood and my vibe
  2. Señor Bear – I like the Latin American Back Bar and twists on cocktails
  3. Adrift Tiki Bar – Tiki Cocktails


Week 1: What are your top 5 favorite restaurants of 2022?


  1. Pizzeria Lui – Great Neopolitan Inspired Pizza perfect for my days off!
  2. Steakhouse 10 – Great for celebrating family occasions when you want to dress up!
  3. Le Peep – Love a great breakfast spot, it’s near my gym and makes the calorie counting easy!
  4. Corvus Littleton – Satisfies my cortado cravings and this location is an ancient grains bakery as well!
  5. Carmine Lonardo’s Italian – I always need an old school Italian deli right in the rotation!


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