ProfileMario got started in the restaurant business when he was still a student at USC, helping to build Baja Sharkeez into the dominant Beach Lifestyle concept it is today, with units in a number of Southern California beach communities. After Sharkeez, Mario created Skew’s Teriyaki, one of the first Fast Casual Asian concepts. Together with his partner and wife Ellen Chen, they grew Skew's to three units in Los Angeles before selling the company in 2001. In 2003, Mario and Ellen created Mendocino Farms. Determined to lead through empowerment and build a thriving business from just a good idea and a lot of passion, they opened their first unit on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles in 2005. Since then, Mendocino Farms restaurants have opened in eleven additional locations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, taking their place as some of the most loved and highest grossing sales per square foot restaurants in the neighborhoods they serve. After receiving an investment from private equity firm Catterton Partners and a minority investment from Whole Foods Market, Mendocino Farms is preparing to grow to 25 units by 2018. Mario continues to be the harbinger of the Mendocino Farms lifestyle, and in 2015 Nation’s Restaurant News included him on their second annual Power List, which recognizes the top 50 leaders who hold the power to change the restaurant industry landscape as we know it.