Excellence on Main Award

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Mario Alfaro Lopez

Award: Entrepreneur of the Year

Year: 2019

City: Ellensburg

Mario Alfaro Lopez is the definition of dreams coming true through hard work, dedication, and kindness. He will say he is “not a chef,” however, his success in running a food truck turned full service restaurant would say otherwise!

Mario launched the Red Pickle food truck in 2016. His cuisine, focused largely on food inspired by his Guatemalan roots, was an immediate hit and he found various events and venues from which to expose his business. After striking up a friendship with another local business – Whipsaw Brewing – the Red Pickle became a staple at the brewery and was able to build up a regular clientele.

As he grew his business, Mario kept an eye out for the perfect brick and mortar location, a place that would allow him to expand his food offerings and showcase his passion for mixology. When a former coffee shop on Pine Street in downtown Ellensburg became available, Mario jumped on it. His dream of owning his own cocktail bar and restaurant became a reality in November 2018 when he opened the doors to The Red Pickle.

The community is thrilled to see Mario succeed in opening his restaurant. Having the Red Pickle downtown in its new capacity has not only increased foot traffic and created a new dining experience, but it has reminded the community that when you support your favorite local spots, they grow into something even more amazing.

As a business owner Mario has embraced innovation and community-mindedness. He hosted pop-up dinners in funky locations and volunteered his time to speak to leadership and entrepreneurship classes. He sources his products from local farmers and is always looking for ways to contribute to the success of the downtown district. He connects with customers and treats them like family, brings joy to the community, and supports others. It is no surprise to hear Mario’s philosophy on food is that “sharing a meal is an expression of love.”