Champagne Bar: Two of the Loveliest Words in the English Language

Come warm yourself by our champagne fireplace.

Ain’t that the truth?

Earlier this month we shared some ideas for a Hot Chocolate Bar; after doing extensive research on DIY stations, including ignoring my children and eating an entire bag of butterscotch chips, I couldn’t resist creating a mini-series on this idea of DIY stations for guests.

Today’s Treat: Champagne

Service with a smile.

Service with a smile at Union Station.

Just writing it makes me happy.

Nothing says ‘celebrate’ quite like champagne. My friends, family, and that one know-it-all guy at Corridor 44 who thought I should eat something before having another glass of the nectar of the gods can attest that champagne is, by far, my own personal favorite drink. But you can’t drink it all the time. Because those other mothers at preschool would be jealous concerned.

I don’t need to add anything to my champagne – like dinner – but this is not about me. It’s about you AND me – and anyone else who appreciates a glass of bubbly. Like all of us at Epicurean Group. Parties are our game. And our job. Put those in whatever order you wish.

Let's pray some of my co-workers were drinking prior to the second photo.

Let’s pray some of my co-workers were drinking prior to the second photo.

The holidays are a perfect time to create a self-serve station for your guests. It allows for more socializing and less stressing. Always a good thing.

Labels are helpful. Especially, um, later...

Labels are helpful. Especially, um, later…

Today is New Year’s Eve so if you are hosting a soiree or simply want to do something special on New Year’s Day, may we introduce you to the MmmmMimosa Station? Simple elegance, with an emphasis on simple.



Why bother with glasses? Tie a straw to mini bottles of bubbly!

Why bother with glasses? Tie a straw to mini bottles of bubbly!

MmmmMimosa Station

Ingredients and Accouterments:

  • Ice buckets or other large bin filled with with ice
  • Four containers for fruit (try IKEA or the dollar store if you don’t have any on hand – or use the coffee cups from your wedding china set because, let’s face it, you’re not drinking coffee when champagne is available)
  • Four glass bottles for juice
  • Labels (for labeling juice and for guests to tag their glasses – I use paint sample cards – free! And any color you want. And did I mention free! )
  • Glasses (one per guest)
  • DIY labels
  • Sharpie Pen
  • Champagne or prosecco
  • Sparkling cider
  • Orange juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Raspberry lemonade concentrate
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, pineapple (feel free to improvise)
  • Sugar cubes
How sweet are these sugar cubes?

How sweet are these sugar cubes?

Paint samples make great labels.

Paint samples make great labels.


  • Chill champagne, prosseco, juice and cider overnight or in an ice bath
  • Pour juice in glass containers, write or print out labels and tie to the bottle
  • Place champagne in an ice bucket on the table
  • Place glasses, fruit, napkins, juice, labels, sugar cubes, and marker on the table

Pour yourself a glass and say hello to 2015 (and maybe a tiny-but-worth-it-headache)!



submitted by Stephanie Blackford

Who Do You Know? Meet Connor Pettibone

Connor Pettibone (apparently not his real name, but it TOTALLY works for him!) is an up and coming star. Connor started his catering career almost 10 years ago, left to pursue the ski slopes less traveled, and finally found his true home at Epicurean in April 2012. Lucky for us, he may have left the industry for a bit, but he kept his same charming personality and delightful eagerness.  We forced him to answer some questions for us. We’ll let you in on what makes Mr. Pettibone tick:

Favorite app?

The Chive!!!! There is no better site to show how amazing people can be and how one small act of kindness can change someone completely.

What will we always find in your fridge?




What is one food that you refuse to eat?


Do you have a favorite holiday meal?

Penne Alfredo with Bacon – bacon being the key ingredient of course.

What do you serve to friends and family?

Spaghetti with a hearty meat and garlic marinara sauce and garlic bread.

What did you pack in your lunchbox as a kid?

PB&J everyday!

Do you have an Epi food favorite?

Our green chili and cheddar polenta with the bistro coffee spiced short ribs.

What’s your favorite thing to make?

Vincent Van Gogh Double Espresso White Russians – tastes like chocolate milk!!

Do you have a favorite holiday food tradition?

Breakfast pizza and my mom’s homemade rolls.

What kitchen gadget do you love?

A corn shucker – I just like to say the name!

What is your favorite reality show obsession and why?

I loved Nitro Circus. I always dreamed of being the next Evil Kenevil so it’s a reminder that I still have some crazy shenanigans left to accomplish.

What would surprise us to learn about you?

As time consuming and as difficult as they are to plan, I love weddings. They just have so much joy surrounding them that it makes all the stress worth it in the end.

In this past year, what was your biggest accomplishment professionally?

Starting as a captain in training last May and being promoted enough in one year to become an event designer.

What’s been your favorite event and why of your career?

MCPN Green Tie Gala and the Matthew Sheppard Foundation. MCPN was my biggest event to date and was successful all the way around. Matthew Sheppard Foundation was just amazing! Having the opportunity to be even a small part of such an incredible organization and hearing Mrs. Sheppard speak was an experience I will never forget.

What is the one thing you’d like to accomplish in life – big or small?

I just want to be happy and satisfied with life when death makes its way towards me. A great man once said “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!”

What’s something you’d hate to live without?


Favorite Pinterest board?


List one thing on your bucket list.

Learn to base jump.

Favorite someecard

Do you have a motto?

Don’t take life to seriously, nobody makes it out alive.

What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

Everything will work out in the end…….

Who Do You Know? | Nikki Olst


It’s the peeps behind the scenes that really make the magic happen. Let’s face it – without the food, there is no Epicurean. I know, scary. Don’t even think about it. Instead, meet Nikki Olst. Recently promoted to Sous Chef at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, this MVP knows how to be a part of the team. We already liked her, but learning that she always has butter and bacon in the house makes us love her. You will too.

Do you have a favorite meal from childhood?

Coney Island Hot Dog. Yum.

Favorite beverage?

Chocolate milk.

What is your favorite celebration?

Birthdays!  I love to celebrate mine and others.  I think it is important to celebrate them for an entire week.

What is the one thing you always keep in your fridge?


What is the one thing you always keep in your freezer?


Favorite time of day?

Nap time. Whatever time I can squeeze one in – that’s my favorite time of day!

Is there something you refuse to eat?

Brussels sprouts. Even bacon can’t save those for me.

What is one restaurant that we will never find you at?

Red Lobster.

Do you have a go-to meal after a long event?

A whiskey neat with a few ice cubes and some meat and cheese and crackers.

What’s your Epicurean food favorite?

Petite Chili Rellanos, even though I’ve made like thousands of them, I can’t stop eating them when they are around.

What bugs you about modern day life?

Cell phones at the dinner table.

Whose kitchen do you want to visit?

Thomas Keller, chef of the French Laundry.

What do you love to make in the kitchen?

Homemade sausage. My dad  learned from his mom and then he taught me.

What do you consider your biggest personal accomplishment?

Changing careers from my desk job to a Culinary job.  I thank my stars I made the leap every single day.

What’s been your favorite event and why of your career?

Living and cooking in Orvieto, Italy.

What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

I wish I would have know that I wanted to be a chef earlier in life.

What is the one thing you’d like to accomplish in life – big or small?

I would like to walk the Camino de Santiago from Spain into Portugal.

Favorite holiday food tradition?

Every major holiday breakfast we would eat Polish Kielbasa growing up.  I have carried it on since, by making my own sausages.

Local celebrity you are dying to meet?

Alex Seidel of Fruition Farms

What is your motto?

I mean what I say, and say what I mean.

Who Do You Know? | Mario Reid

Mario_01  Fun With Mario
Epicurean’s Mangia Bevi Café is famous for the sweet potato fries. Adored for the wood-fired pizza. Worshiped for the caramel lattes. But it is Mangia Bevi’s General Manager, Mario Reid, who is truly loved at the Denver hot spot  Want to know more? We know you do. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mario, you are lucky. If you haven’t, well, here’s a little insight to the man behind the Mangia magic:

What do you consider your biggest personal accomplishment?

Living this long

What is the one thing you always keep in your fridge?

Heavy Whipping Cream

What is always in your freezer?

Ice Cream

Favorite meal from childhood?


What is one restaurant that we will never find you at?

A Vietnamese Restaurant

What is your motto?

Every day is a holiday and every night is Saturday Night

What food do you refuse to eat?

Raw oysters

What’s your favorite thing to make?

People laugh

What’s been your favorite event of your career?

Catered the 50th Anniversary of the UFO Festival, Roswell, NM in 1997

What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

How to buy a car

What did you pack in your lunchbox as a kid?

Didn’t have a lunch box

If you got to visit the kitchen of a famous person, who would you choose?

The President

Favorite Pinterest board?

What is a Pinterest board?

Favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving. And Mario Day on March 10th. Mark you calendars.