"It's gonna be Mexican, but not Mexican."
So says Jorge Pingarron, who's opening El Olvido in the former Hades Bar & Grill (and South Broadway Grill, and El Ranchito, and, long ago, Mr. Steak) spot on South Broadway. And what he means by "not Mexican" is that he's not going to serve the enchiladas and tostadas that are standard fare at Mexican restaurants in this city.
Rather, Pingarron is focusing on regional cuisine, crafting a menu of ten dishes and dreaming up specials that showcase the food of different states in Mexico. "My family is from everywhere," he says. "We've got a lot of family recipes."
He plans to offer mole from Oaxaca, dishes from his native Acapulco, and a menu staple from Guadalajara. "One of our specialties will be carne en su jugo," he says. "That's meat cooked in its own juices, and then we add some secret things. In Guadalajara, there are restaurants that serve just that, and they're packed."
Pingarron has worked in Denver restaurants for years, and quit his last job just three weeks ago to forge ahead with this project. He cites Troy Guard as his favorite local chef. "I worked with him at Tamayo," he says. "I learned a lot."
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Pingarron is now waiting on the liquor license transfer, so that he can open with a full bar. Once that goes through, he estimates that it will be about a month before he opens the doors to his own place. "It's exciting," he says.
Even if it's "not Mexican."