Oregano’s Pizza Bistro founder Mark Russell gives us a gander inside his vintage-stuffed garage.
Tucked away in a Tempe industrial park is a 5,000-square-foot warehouse stuffed with vintage signs, collectibles and curios. Their ultimate destination: the walls of a new Oregano’s Pizza Bistro in Fort Collins, Colorado, opening this August. As anyone familiar with the rapidly expanding Italian eatery empire knows, the ambience of an Oregano’s is as carefully crafted as the Stuffed Riga Tony. “[The warehouse has] become our own store to shop from,” says founder Mark Russell, who scours the country to attend garage sales, swap meets and auctions, looking for nostalgic pieces to saturate his restaurants. The Chicago native opened his first Oregano’s in 1993 in Scottsdale, a tribute to his parents, who taught him the importance of family, friends and good food. “I lost them to cancer two years apart, and everything you see is a reminiscence of them. This whole concept comes from a lot of passion.”