Eco-Warrior gets a 'Desperate' boost at fundraiser

Richard Burgi tasted one of his dreams Wednesday night at Savannah Chop House restaurant in Laguna Niguel.

The actor known for his role on "Desperate Housewives" teamed with friend James Pribram, a former professional surfer and environmentalist, on a fundraiser for Eco-Warrior Foundation, which promotes caring for beaches and wildlife and often holds beach cleanups in Laguna Beach.

Burgi and Pribram were each responsible for making one $5 cocktail, with all proceeds and tips going to Eco-Warrior.

Fifty people filled the room to near capacity while a piano player performed Jason Mraz and Michael Bublé hits on the piano and a breeze blew threw the bar from an outdoor patio.

"I always wanted to be a bartender," Burgi said, before going behind the bar to make The Desperate Housewife, which contained white and dark rum, as well as orange, pineapple and passion fruit juices and house-made sweet and sour mix. "My brother Peter is a great bartender. My bartending skills are limited at best."

Burgi chatted up customers while filling glasses and accenting the drinks with orange slices and maraschino cherries.

Greg Wilkinson of La Crescenta was pleased with Burgi's work.

"Tastes like it should come with a money-back guarantee," said Wilkinson, who was joined by his daughter and son-in-law. "That's a party in your mouth."

Pribram, who grew up surfing in Laguna Beach — his parents still live in the city — kept his drink simple with only three ingredients: vodka, cranberry juice and orange juice.

"Richard was late getting back to me with a drink idea," Pribram joked, referring to Burgi's more complex concoction.

Natasha Darling, co-owner of American Gothic Social, a social media and public relations company, and marketing director for Savannah Chop House, came up with the bar-battle idea.

"We had done a similar event with another restaurant [Brasserie Pascal in Newport Beach]," Darling said. "I approached James, and he came back right away with Richard as the person to join him."

Pribram and Burgi have known each other since the late-1980s.

"We do a lot of serious events, such as last Saturday's beach cleanup where we had foster children come out, and we also did stand-up paddle lessons," said Pribram, a former Coastline Pilot columnist. "So much of the foundation is family-based. We wanted to do an adult get-together."

The event generated $500 in cash tips, not including credit card charges, Darling said in a follow-up email.

For more information on Eco-Warrior, visit the organization's Facebook page at

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