The Highlands Team


Our team is a veritable melting pot, with people from all corners of the country and pretty much every walk of life. They do have some things in common, though: a passion for food and the uncanny knack for making your experience an amazing one. Take a look at our stories and come on in to talk to us—we may even quiz you.

Kevin Morrison

Kevin Morrison

Chef/Owner



Kevin Morrison was the founder of Red Tomato Specialty Produce, serving the independent upscale restaurant industry in Denver, as well as co-founder of the Spicy Pickle Sub Shop and Spicy Pickle Franchising. In 2006 the concept won Nation’s Restaurant News “Hot Concept” award and went public in 2007. Later in ’07 Kevin was the creative force behind Crumb Rustic Bakery, a wholesale bakery that serviced all of Colorado’s Spicy Pickle restaurants. In 2010 Kevin left the restraints of corporate life to develop other grassroots food concepts like Tacos Tequila Whiskey and Poco Torteria.

I like to…


Travel, sail, hang with my family, watch TV. Maybe not in that order.


Little known facts


I go on the log ride with my twin boys but it scares the hell out of me!


Steve Shoemaker

Steve Shoemaker

Director of Tacoperations



Steve comes to KTM from Sysco Foods in Denver, where he spent just over 6 years as a Marketing Associate. During his time at Sysco, he earned awards for excellence and growth and served his customers with integrity and professionalism. He remains a respected leader and resource to his former coworkers. Prior to Sysco, Steve worked with the Hillstone Restaurant Group for nearly 10 years where he learned the importance of standardized systems and team culture.

Growing up in Indiana, Steve spent a lot of time in the outdoors and was fortunate to have a nice 10-acre yard to play football, baseball, soccer, drive golf balls as hard as he wanted and use their tractor to make BMX and RC car tracks. After graduating from Huntington College, Steve attended Johnson & Wales. He participated in the Garnish Your Degree program which earned him his Associates in Culinary Arts.


Little known facts


Steve enjoys skiing, drawing, doing homework (sometimes), camping and sitting around the bonfire with his 2 kids and wife of 14 years.

In High School, Steve worked at a local bike shop starting off as a bike assembler.


Tori Mateer

Tori Mateer

Office Manager



Tori Mateer was born in Des Moines, Iowa and grew up surrounding herself with athletics. Being a four sport athlete has made a huge impact on developing her into the teammate, socialist, leader, and optimistic individual that she is today. Tori has a great passion for working with people and making an impact in any way she can. In 2016 she moved to Colorado falling in love with the mountains and active lifestyle! As well as her strong mid-west mentality she brings very diverse career path with her. 5 years of restaurant experience, 5 years of administrative, 2 years of marketing/events management, 4 years of coaching volleyball. When Tori’s not at work she enjoys

I like to…


traveling, working out, snowboarding, camping, hiking, coaching/playing volleyball, trying new foods, visiting family and of course, drinking colorado beers! She’s always looking for her next adventure!


Jim Duginski

Jim Duginski

General Manager



Jim has been working in the food and beverage industry for the past thirty years. He cut his management teeth with Big Four Restaurants in Phoenix, AZ. He has been a General Manager and a Director of Operations for companies like Real American Restaurants, Desert Island Restaurants, Amazing Jake’s, and Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. His last position, before TTW, was at Bacon Social House.

Jim was born in Moorhead, MN and moved to Phoenix at the age of 12, where he later attended Arizona State University. He met his wife Michele shortly after, and they have two children. In 2006, work brought Jim and his family to Colorado, where they currently reside in Centennial. Jim is an avid sports fan and enjoys spending time with his family especially summer BBQ and pool time.

Little known facts


In high school, Jim had a summer marketing job as the Kool-Aid Man. Although he has always worked in the front of the house, he is an excellent cook. He has never been to Tijuana, but he has been to Nogales (you don’t see as much craziness there!) and has thoroughly enjoyed many vacations in Mexico.

David Leyva

David Leyva

Bar Manager



David was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His parents opened up a Costa Rican restaurant when he was still in high school, which ended up being his first look into the service industry. After graduating, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to study psychology and sociology at the University of New Mexico where he lived for three years, simultaneously working his way up through the two restaurants he worked at there. This led to the discovery of his passion for bartending.

On a whim, he visited Denver alone knowing no one in the city at all and fell in love with the state as a whole. Within a year, he moved into the city and began exploring all it had to offer. It was here that he developed a new appreciation and almost obsession with agave based spirits, which eventually led him to a server position at Tacos Tequila Whiskey. Within a year he worked his way up to the position of bar manager. He loves his team and strives to prove that he will never ask them to work harder than he does, which is why you’ll see him working his hardest day-in and day-out, whether it’s making drinks or washing dishes.


I like to…


snowboard, hike, camp, spend time with my dog, travel and give high-fives!


Little known facts


David can play five different instruments!


 

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