By Michael Benninger / Photo by Kristina Yamamoto
When Greg Majors was an aspiring law student at UCSD, he took a bar-backing gig at Humphrey's by the Bay to earn extra cash. Little did the Bay Area native know that this first experience in the hospitality biz would ultimately steer him away from passing the bar, leading him toward a career in perfecting bars instead.
After his stint at Humphrey's, Majors worked at The Prado in Balboa Park before relocating to New York City to attend law school. While in the Big Apple, he scored jobs at some of the metropolis' celebrated eateries including CRU, Insieme and Craft. Working alongside famed sommeliers at these and other esteemed venues, he had the opportunity to taste incredible wines from the world, an experience that eventually swayed him to abandon law and concentrate on the vine things in life.
Now, Majors has something of a new motto: "Be careful to trust a person who does not like wine," he says, quoting Karl Marx. And he's left the island of New York for an island just off the coast of San Diego.
"After 10 years living in Manhattan, I knew it was time to move on from the pace of city life," he says, having relocated to Coronado to hone his palate as wine director of the new Stake Chophouse & Bar.
Operated by Blue Ridge Hospitality - a group whose Coronado restaurant portfolio includes Leroy's Kitchen + Lounge, Moo Time Creamery, Lil' Piggy's Bar-B-Q, Coronado Coffee Company and Village Pizzeria - Stake promises to woo oenophiles from the mainland and beyond with the extensive wine collection Majors curates.
"My goal when drafting a list on this scale is to hit all the markers with respect to price-point, varietal, region and producer," he says. "We offer the great bottles from Burgundy, California, Bordeaux, Piedmont and Tuscany, but also feature the lesser-known regions and producers from Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, et cetera. We have options and selections for everyone."
Ordering the wrong wine to pair with one of Stake's steaks isn't breaking the law, but if you ask Majors, a glass-action lawsuit might be in order.
Stake Chophouse & Bar
1309 Orange Ave., Coronado
Wine wiz Greg Majors cites a few of his favorite varietals from among Stake 's expansive collection
'00 Lynch Bages: "I simply love this house. For me, Lynch Bages consistently captures the essence of Bordeaux. Vintage after vintage, the wines are always classy with great finesse. I would pair this with Chef's Bone-in Ribeye."
'11 Sea Smoke Southing: "Nothing says 'Santa Barbara Pinot' like this wine. Captivating with great length. I would drink this with the Lobster Minestrone."
'06 Roumier Bonnes-Mares: "One of my preferred vineyards and my favorite producer in Burgundy. The fruit from Bonne Mares can be relatively broad and girthy, which is ideal when you think about pairing it with meat cooked in a wood fired oven. I would drink this with Chef's Pork Chop."