Our Team

Management

Tony Baker

Executive Chef/Partner

Chef Tony Baker began his career in England in 1989. Following graduation from culinary school in Bristol, Tony worked in several highly acclaimed restaurants including: Hintlesham Hall and Lucknam Park Hotel, often cooking for royalty and well known political figures.

In 1994 he moved "across the pond" and has been a part of Monterey’s Downtown Dining Group ever since. Tony headed the kitchen at Rio Grill in Carmel before moving to Montrio Bistro in 1997. A tireless ambassador of the culinary arts, Tony continues to create innovative dishes combining the traditions of French and Italian cooking with the cutting edge style of California cuisine.

His consistent use of sustainable ingredients and local purveyors has earned him praise and acclaim on a national level. In 2009 he was awarded the American Culinary Federation's "Celebrated" Chef of the Year award and has elevated Montrio Bistro to a "must visit" for locals and visitors alike.

Chef Baker constantly strives for the betterment of our area by donating his time and talents to a variety of non-profit organizations and philanthropic causes. His ongoing web series “Ask the Chef” and weekly millioncooks.com audio blog help him to educate the world about the joys and simplicity of cooking.

http://www.ChefTonyBaker.com/

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Kathy Solley

General Manager

Kathy Solley is a native of Lancaster County Pennsylvania. She has almost 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry dating back to the early 1980's as a server in the reknowned Restaurant at Donecker's in the quaint little town of Ephrata.

In the summer of 1998 Kathy and her husband William relocated to the Monterey Penninsula where she took a position as Assistant Manager of the California Market at the Highlands Inn in the Carmel Highlands.

In 2001, Kathy came aboard the staff at Montrio Bistro as an Assistant Manager to the then-GM Dana Neikirk eventually succeeding him as GM in 2003. Under her tenure, Kathy has maintained the standards of excellence that were in place since she arrived and bolstered the reputation of Montrio by winning awards for outstanding food, wine and service.

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Eli Severson

Restaurant Manager

With more than 14 years of restaurant, wine and hospitality experience and a 10-year stint at Rio Grill, Severson’s passion for quality and keen eye for detail make him a welcome addition to the Montrio Bistro team.

Severson was mostly recently General Manager at Turn 12 and has also worked at Baja Cantina and Parsonage Vineyards where he worked in the tasting room and as an apprentice to the winemaker for three vintages. 

For more than 18 years, Montrio has celebrated the heritage and craftsmanship of the local purveyor.  Montrio and Chef Tony Baker are proud to continue our seed-to-fork focus with emphasis on the delicious and seasonal ingredients that come from our local farmers, ranchers and fishermen.

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Tara Mele

Event Coordinator

A longtime veteran of the restaurant industry, Tara started her career at the age of 15. While growing up in Walnut Creek, California, she had the opportunity to work at several establishments experiencing first-hand the dedication it takes to succeed. Tara moved on to the corporate world and worked as an assistant controller responsible for the planning and executing of many of her employer's events, dinners and corporate retreats. Working on the "other side of the coin" allowed Tara to apply the knowledge she gained earlier in her career.

She moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 2004, started a family and began to work as a banquet server at Downtown Dining's Rio Grill. Capitalizing on her experience with events and parties she took the position of Event Coordinator for Montrio Bistro and Rio Grill in 2006 and has never looked back.

She counts her family and wine as some of her passions and specializes in the Napa and Carmel Valley AVA's. Tara looks forward to helping family and corporate groups experience the best Montrio Bistro and Rio Grill have to offer during their event.

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Specialists

Anthony Vitacca

Head Mixologist

Montrio's Head Mixologist, Anthony Vittacca has been expressing himself through his craft for almost 20 years. Anthony's first gig behind the bar was at the Rusty Harpoon on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

In 2002, Anthony and his wife returned to the mainland and after much deliberation, settled in Monterey. While preparing for law school entrance exams, Anthony was approached by the team at Montrio and was offered the opportunity to continue to explore his true love of mixology. He jumped at the chance and thus began his tenure behind the bar at Montrio.

More than just a "bar jockey" Anthony is recognized as one of the finest bartenders in the area and works to create the ultimate cocktail menu for his guests at Montrio. Anthony has elevated the practice to an art form and continues to strive for the perfect blend of fresh local ingredients and the highest quality spirits. "I love to express myself creatively through drink!"

Tony Tollner

Managing Partner

Tony was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1953. In 1964, Tony and his family moved to Greensboro, North Carolina where his mom lives today. In Greensboro, Tony embarked on his career in the restaurant industry taking a position at Yogi Bear Honey-Fried Chicken, at age 15.

Following a career in the Navy and time to "explore his options", Tony moved to Mountain View, California and attended Foothill College. During that time, he supported himself waiting tables at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto. It was there that the idea of restaurant management first surfaced. On a trip to the Monterey Peninsula he went to what was then Billy Quon’s where their ex-boss was working. Following a job offer, Tony moved to Carmel Valley in 1983.

In November of 1983, Tony helped to open Rio Grill and in 1985 he became a partner in Real Restaurants, which was then comprised of Rio Grill, Mustard’s Grill in Napa and Fog City Diner in San Francisco. In 1989, Real Restaurants reorganized and Rio Grill became a free-standing entity.

Tony managed Rio Grill from 1984 until 1991 when he and his partner, Bill Cox found the building that now houses Tarpy’s Roadhouse. In 1994, a chef/friend approached Tony and asked if he would consider another venture. From that conversation, sprung the award winning Montrio Bistro. Montrio Bistro, along with Tarpy's Roadhouse and Rio Grill comprise the Downtown Dining group of restaurants.

With outstanding cuisine, exemplary service and an attention to detail, The Downtown Dining restaurants continue to bring a unique and flavorful dining experience to locals and visitors alike.