Great Vegas Festival of Beer - Taco Tiki Throwdown
Buy Tickets

taco tiki throwdown

The more “spirited” cousin of the legendary Hopped Taco Throwdown, Taco Tiki Throwdown is an all-inclusive food and beverage experience in a competition setting that primarily celebrates high-end, innovative tacos and elevated tiki-style cocktails. TTT features a dozen local chefs from a multitude of cuisines competing to make their version of the best taco while Vegas’ leading mixologists compete for glory. Limited beer and other beverage selections will be sampled as well. 

The Chefs

Chef Marc Marrone

Chef Marc Marrone

italian grafitti

Cuisine: Entreprenurial Fusion
Read Bio

Chef Marc Marrone creates hospitality concepts that bring joy to the community. After nearly a decade with TAO Group, during which he oversaw global development and expansion, Marrone launched Graffiti Hospitality in 2018 with Todd Lunger. They quickly opened several successful restaurants before merging with Reed Slobusky and SkinnyFATS to form a group focused on expanding their restaurant portfolio.

Chef Lawrence Esguerra

lawrence esguerra


Cuisine: Texas-style BBQ
Read Bio

Several years ago, two friends were discussing sandwiches and how most were cold, wimpy and had more “fixins” than meat. They decided the world needed a meaty, hot sandwich with melted cheese. Thus, was born Texas Meltz. We started as a small sandwich shop with a little bit of BBQ.

When the old Memphis BBQ at Warm Springs and Eastern became available, we purchased the building and flipped our script. We opened L2 Texas BBQ- a full-service BBQ restaurant with more than 10 different BBQ options., but we also retained all the Texas Meltz sandwiches and salads for those with a bit smaller appetite. Come visit us and enjoy Texas style BBQ. You will not leave hungry. We have the best BBQ value in Las Vegas- all you can eat for $ 33.99


Smoked Pulled Pork taco
peach cobbler taco basket
Chef Sam Marvin

Sam Marvin

echo & rig

Cuisine: Classic American Steakhouse
Read Bio

How do you take a classic staple of American dining, the steakhouse, and break down the traditional thinking to create something entirely new and exciting? That was the question that acclaimed chef and restaurateur Sam Marvin (creator of the much-celebrated Los Angeles restaurant Bottega Louie) posed when he decided the time was right to reinvent what has long been the trademarks of the steakhouse genre – masculine vibe, dark rooms, fancy waiters, slabs of oversized beef and overly expensive pricing. The answer became Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse, just opened at the charming Tivoli Village just off of Summerlin Parkway; 15 minutes from the famed Las Vegas Strip.

At Echo & Rig, Marvin introduces a pioneering new concept that will transform the long-held theories behind the steakhouse formula while simultaneously reintroducing the neighborhood butcher shop. The Echo & Rig Butcher Shop is a stunning homage to meat featuring one of the most acclaimed butchers in the country, a large open glass meat locker, vertical displays, and an exhibition/demonstration area.


snow beef tacos

Traditional Taco made with Snow Waygu Beef

leftover tacos
Chef Donald Lemperle

donald lemperle


Cuisine: Fresh Vegetarian Street Food
Read Bio

With more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, Chef Donald Lemperle was raised in his family-owned restaurant on Staten Island, New York.

He has cooked in some of New York City’s finest restaurant kitchens including Le Bernardin, The Quilted Giraffe and The Sign of the Dove, shaping a valuable culinary foundation for his career.

He was the executive chef for Park Avalon Restaurant in New York City, as well as executive chef for the James Hotel and the Mondrian Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In 2005, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer. with this diagnosis, he decided to change his lifestyle completely, beginning with a plant-based diet.

Healthier eating, exercise, and a positive mindset have our chef feeling fantastic and in remission. he always has lots of energy and vigor for life, and you can taste that in his food.

His transformation opened his eyes to the problems in our current food system and how it is harming our health and planet. Chef Donald made it his mission to make a difference in his local community by serving fresh, healthy, plant-based foods that are delicious, fun, and easy to get.



braised wild mushrooms

with huitlacoche crema

chocolate ganache

with orange compote and salted caramel

Chef Matt Meyer

matt meyer


Cuisine: Fusion
Read Bio

Served Global Dining is a local restaurant in Henderson Nevada that is guaranteed to bring your “Cultural favorites, redefined” where guests will have a chance to savor the flavors of the world in a single dish. Served Global Dining is tucked away in the Horizon Foothills Market Place on Horizon Ridge/Stephanie. At Served, guests can relax and enjoy high-end global dining in a relaxed atmospheric environment for a full unique culinary experience.



Pekin Essay

Mexican-inspired Pekin duck taco w/mole, served on handmade heirloom corn tortillas

Taco de Mooooooooo

Crispy beef taco made with dry aged beef tare tare served on handmade heirloom corn tortillas

Chef Jeff Weiss

Jeff Weiss

valencian gold

Cuisine: Spanish Food for Everyone
Read Bio

What happened when an American chef traveled to Spain and returned with a bunch of ham, a few adventures, and a lifetime of memories?

An idea, sparked by questions that he asked upon returning, came to life:
“Can I make Spanish food for everyone? Can I bring Paella to the People?”

He didn’t realize it at the time, but in those questions he began a slow stumble towards an answer—and he fell head-over-heels in love with Valencian Gold.

Valencian Gold is quite literally another name for paella, one of Spain’s greatest culinary gifts to the world. It is the colloquial nickname for the dish, S, which Valencians lovingly and fiercely refer to as their regional treasure.

Taking inspiration from that love and regional pride, Valencian Gold takes our inspiration from our favorite food traditions of Spain; from paella to tapas, from shared plates to grilled meats. Cooking in Spain is a lesson in the culture of flavor; of lives filled with food, and hearts overflowing with love. Spain is a culture of sharing whatever you are passionate about, and whatever you love to eat, so join us in sharing our passion for some of the best bites in Spain.



Smoked Lamb Taco

Smoked lamb neck shawarma, herb tzatziki, laffa bread

Cauliflower Taco

Cauliflower shawarma, turmeric pickles, spicy tahini, laffa bread

Chef Jon Batista

jon batista

ghost unit kitchen

Read Bio

Executive Chef of:

  • YourPanadas (Las Vegas’ only empanada food truck)
  • Ghost Unit Kitchen (A catering ghost kitchen)
  • Artisanal Foods (Gourmet grocery store)

Specializing in Latin Caribbean and West Indian cuisine.

Signature dish: “The New Yorker” a grass fed beef & Dominican chorizo mixture filled in a flaky crunchy shell (empanada)

Born and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens NYC

Age 38

Nationality: Panamanian, Dominican & Puerto Rican roots


dominican taco

A take on the typical Dominican breakfast “Tres Golpes”, meaning the three hits. A sweet plantain tortilla filled with Dominican sausage, cheese and sautéd onions

Chef Jordan Dunewood

jordan Dunewood

ghost unit kitchen

Read Bio


baja crispy taco

Roasted sweet corn creme, red napa slaw, hatch chili salsa and house pico de gallo

Chef Benni Velázquez

beni Velázquez



kung pao shrimp tacos

Red Argentinian shrimp, peanuts, Sichuan chili peppers, sofrito, roasted tomato plum sauce, jicama slaw, roasted tomatillo salsa, mango salsa, dragon sauce, ginger soy crema, warm corn tortillas, topped with avocado, cilantro and nori mix

Spicy Korean style Al Pastor Vegan Tacos

Spicy Chili steel cut oats mixture, citrus jicama slaw, pickled red onions, roasted pineapple Pico de Gallo, spicy BBQ soy cashew crema, warm corn tortillas, cilantro

Jean Paul Labadie

Jean Paul Labadie

apron tie

Read Bio

Jean Paul Labadie is a culinary staple in the Las Vegas Arts District. In 2018, Jean Paul created his valley-wide known company ApronTie. Jean Paul has competed in culinary TV competitions such as “Extreme Chef” in 2011, and was a judge on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” in 2006. Before founding ApronTie, Jean Paul was the Chef de Cuisine at Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House inside the MGM Grand. Labadie studied hotel and restaurant management at Iowa State University, eventually transferring and graduating from Western Culinary Institute in Portland.



pork belly taco

Rum Glazed Pork Belly Taco with Fresh Plantain Tortilla

taco dulce

Guava and Cheese Taquito, Grand Marnier, Herbs and a bit more Sugar

chefs Daniel Arias & Isidro Marquez


Cuisine: Latin-Inspired with Modern Interpretation
Read Bio

Our concept was born out of a trip to Mexico City where we were inspired by so many veggie dishes with such flavor and love. We wanted to bring a modern take on Mexican culture and food to Las Vegas. While the focus is on our large taco selection, we offer many other Mexican staples with a twist.



The Governator

Charred shrimp, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, oyster sauce, Salsa Bendita

Pulpo Adobo

Crispy octopus, bell peppers, onions, Adobo sauce, Jocoque (Mexican sour cream)

The mixologists

Adam Rains

Adam rains

The Golden Tiki

Style: Tiki
Read Bio

Adam Rains has a true passion for food, wine & spirits. A graduate of SDSU, he earned a B.A. in International Business with minors in Latin American Studies and Spanish. After living abroad in South America, he landed jobs with both Mario Batali and Gordon Ramsay; while working for them, he’s completed the BarSmarts program, as well as the International Sommeliers Guild’s Levels 1 & 2 and Court of Master Sommeliers Level 1. In order to further his own knowledge and to help others, he has started a podcast centered on cocktails and Las Vegas called Las Vegas Cocktail Weekly. To further express his love for Vegas and for his craft, he also is an editor for and has two columns for the trade publication, Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional. Along with that, he is involved in a series of instructional videos for Mixology Made Simple as well as a contributing editor. When not behind the bar, he spends time with his lovely wife and two beautiful children. Adam has also volunteered at two of the local farmers’ markets and believes that in food, as well as cocktails, “fresh is best.”


Celina Zavala

Celina Zavala

The Golden Tiki


Style: Tiki
Read Bio

Celina Zavala had been bartending for 4 years now. She had a love for tequila and sugar cane spirits! Celina now works at the world-famous Golden Tiki and is amazed by the escapism that Tiki culture provides. “I love tiki because I get to bring people happiness and share the culture. I love sharing the cocktails as well, especially the Three Dots and A Dash.”



A Pirate of Exquisite Mind

A sumptuous blend of Alma de Agave Blanco, Don’s Mix, fresh lime, spice and everything not nice.

"Jungle" Jason Hughes

“Jungle” Jason Hughes



Read Bio

Jungle Jason Hughes is a man of many words, exotic spirits, and forbidden tastes. His magnanimous approach to life is as full of joie de vivre as it is of Eau de vie!

While “Jungle” Jason aka the “Mohawk Mixologist” has been a Bartender/Competition Mixologist for 20+ years, he first got Into the Tiki World in 2007 where he lead the bar at Trader Vic’s in Las Vegas. 
He is also the steadfast and hyper-tantric drummer in the Las Vegas-based Punk/Ska/Surf rock band, the Rhumones.
Through his years, Jungle Jason also takes pride in staying modest and loves giving all the knowledge he has acquired over the years to the new generation who may ask and need it.
More about Jason…
He was born on a magical day known as St. Patricks Day. This is probably the reason Jungle Jason has taken such a passionate approach to the beverage industry. He has been bartending for over 20 years and has held many positions in such an industry. From bartender to brand ambassador.
He also has traveled the world in search of the finest education such as Bols Level 2 in Amsterdam to The Spirits Academy in Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits located here in Las Vegas to name a few.

Jungle Jason also contributes a lot of his time to charities. Such charities are The Helen Davin Relief Fund and Chef Cycle. Along with numerous others within the USBG.

Jason Currently works at the Wynn


Summer Snow

Spur Vodka, Coconut Cream and TIki Spices

Dana Dufield

Dana Dufield


Style: Pub / Bar & Grill
Read Bio

Dana Dufield is an energetic and enthusiastic customer service and hospitality professional, with a knack for engaging guests to elevate sales. She has two and a half years of experience working in sales and marketing as an event specialist, promoting and demonstrating food and beverage products for companies like Keurig, Sodastream, Mondelez, etc. She also has four years of experience working in the hospitality industry as a hostess, server, and bartender, with an excellent eye for increasing sales and elevating brand awareness, while always ensuring guest satisfaction. She has a naturally outgoing, fun, and helpful personality that allows her to easily interact with guests from all over the world – which is where she shines the most!


Pounga Pounga!

Cancion Blanco and fire!

Anthony Ciecalone

Anthony Ciecalone


Style: Pub / Bar & Grill
Read Bio

Anthony Ciecalone is an extremely mediocre bartender known mostly for dad jokes and almost constantly visible buttcrack. He specializes in useless knowledge of cocktail history, Tiki culture, and second-degree burns. He will fight anyone on sight arguing Mai Tai specs and has an adorable corgi. Prepare to be over garnished and underwhelmed!


Pounga Pounga!

Cancion Blanco and fire!

Alyssa Gabrillo

Allyssa Gabrillo

cleaver las vegas



New Amsterdam Passion Fruit Vodka, Orange Juice, Pineapple, Blue curacao, Creme de banana, Fresh lime.

“Hau” is inspired by the old Hawaiian tale of pohuehue and kauna’oa, two lovers separated by a simple lovers spat that found their way together through the path of a beautiful plant called ma’o hau-hele

Cory Mendoza

cory mendonca



Agave in Algiers

Siempre Blanco, Lime Juice, Rose + Blood Orange infused Honey Syrup or Date Sugar Syrup, Minty Iced Tea Lengthener, Splash of Topo Chico.

Garnishes: Mint Bouquet, Dehydrated Blood Orange Wheel, Rose buds or petals

Troy Del Grosso

troy del grosso


Read Bio
My name is Troy Del Grosso and I’m the Assistant General Manager and Bar Manager at Eureka! in Downtown Las Vegas. I’ve been bartending for over 10 years now and have been competing in competitions for about 3 or so years. I’m from Arizona, but I’ve been in Las Vegas half my life so I’m officially a Las Vegas Native!


Eye of the Leo

Clemens Tale Las Vegas Local Whiskey. An homage to my first rescue that I adopted where all the puppies were named after cocktails, and his name was “Grasshopper”, which we have changed to Leo.

Marc Rage

marc rage


Read Bio
  • San Francisco Bay Area native
  • Opened the Aria Resort & Casino in 2009 and has been bartending there since, including a three year stint at Catch Las Vegas.
  • Former bar instructor at the National Bartenders School and Crescent School of Gaming Bartending.
  • Other places I can be seen bartending are the Caesars Forum Conference Center and Allegiant Stadium.
  • Concert junkie and diehard Trekkie.


Pounga Pounga!

Cancion Blanco and fire!

Adam Carrol

adam carrol

the golden tiki

Read Bio
Adam “Panda” Carrol is a mixologist at the World Famous Golden Tiki. During his career, he has amassed a number of competition wins and has worked at some of the most prestigious bars in the city. “Panda” also spent a lot of time working under his mento Francesco LaFranconi at Southern Glaziers Wine & Spirits. 


Tropical Panda

Bacardi Tropical and all of the things!

Kat Sassafrass

kat sassafrass

dick’s last resort

Read Bio
Hello humans, heathens, Descartes, darlings, and degenerates. 
I’m Kat, a born and raised Las Vegas bartender, I was recruited at 21 at a neighborhood bar and made lifelong friends along the way of my 15-year career. And as big as Vegas gets, it’s still a small town. 
I am fascinated by the ever-evolving world of cocktails and I never want to stop learning. I like going to different bars/restaurants and asking the bartender to make me their favorite or what cocktail they are the proudest of. 
Currently, I work the greatest customer service job on the planet. I work for Dicks Last Resort in Neonopolis at Downtown Fremont (if you don’t know about our company, look us up). I live every day slinging drinks, jokes, food, sarcasm, and saying almost everything you’ve ever wanted to say to a guest.
Feel free to follow my Downtown Dicks Last Resort shenanigans on Instagram. 


Vegas Valley Zombie

Whistling Andy Hibiscus Coconut Rum, Passionfruit & a touch of the unknown!

Eddie de la Torre

eddie de la torre

herbs & rye

Read Bio
Eddie is a long-time bartender for the jewel of the Las Vegas cocktail scene, Herb’s & Rye where his service is impeccable and cocktails are stellar.  We are lucky to have him as part of this Tiki Throwdown! 


Hot Beach

Garrison Brothers Honey Dew, Falernum, Lime juice, Ancho Reyes, Vanilla syrup

Joseph Arakawa

joseph arakawa

anima by edo

Read Bio
  • Born on November 2 1991 and raised on the island of Oahu.
  • Graduate of Leilehua High School class of 2009.
  • Worked in the service industry since I was a teenager starting in my mom’s restaurant washing dishes and doing anything and everything.
  • Joined the Army Reserves in 2008, currently still in the reserves with two deployments (Iraq/Afghanistan) and a Warrant Officer One in intelligence.
  • Started bar journey in 2014 but continued working in the service industry between deployments and school.
  • First Bar Manager gig at Avenue’s bar and eatery.
  • Other notable jobs in Hawaii were bar manager of PAI Honolulu and Square Barrels.
  • Currently been in Las Vegas for almost a year and am currently a bartender at Anima by EDO. 



Koloa Coconut Rum, Citrus and Mystery

James Manos

james manos

dress the drink

Read Bio

James is a lifelong veteran of the bar/restaurant/nightclub industry with 20+ years experience behind the bar and in beverage development. James spent the majority of his career pouring drinks in LIVE music venues around the country for the Hard Rock brands. In addition, he’s operated his own bar consulting business, with clients like Drybar, Imagine Exhibitions, and local favorite – Tacos & Beer. James’ speciality is “liquid storytelling” and he believes that the reasoning and backstory behind the creation of a beverage can be as important as the ingredients within. James enjoys bringing elements from his other passions, craft beer & rock-n-roll, into the cocktail world and utilizes custom garnishes and artisanal simple syrups (from Dress The Drink) to craft experiential beverages. Every great drink tells a great story!


Eye Contact While Slowly Eating a Banana

Cutwater Tiki Gold Pineapple Rum, Cutwater Bali Hai Dark, Spent Grain infused Banana Liquer, Li Hing Mui Sinful Syrup, Pineapple, Lime, Cinnamon Saline Solution, Aromatic Bitters