Kevin Morrison opening a second Pinche Taqueria in Highland
Those were the ecstatic words that Kevin Morrison, the brains behind the Pinche Taco truck and Pinche Taqueria, the stellar urban taco joint that he opened in 2011 on Halloween eve, spilled this morning when he revealed that he's opening a second Pinche Taqueria at 3300 West 32nd Avenue -- a brand new build-out in Highland.
Morrison says the restaurant "is another taqueria with no name," because, well, the loose translation of "pinche" -- "fucking," as in those "fucking tacos are so fucking good!" -- isn't a word that the Department of Excise and Licenses is particularly fond of. So in order to secure a liquor license for the space, he's doing the same thing that he did with his original brick-and-mortar: using signage that simple states "tacos, tequila, whiskey" -- and Doing Business As Tacos Borrachos.
It doesn't really fucking matter what you call it, however, because the taqueria, which won our Best New Restaurant award in this year's Best of Denver, has become one of the city's most popular hangouts for innovative street tacos, Mexican beers and sassy cocktails -- and the new taqueria will essentially mimic its sibling, although Morrison has a few new tricks up his sleeve.
"We'll have different textures and colors, but you'll know when you walk through the door that you're definitely in a Pinche Taqueria," says Morrison, adding that the menu will remain the same, as will the bar program, which is spearheaded by Brian Smith, who's trotting off to Mexico next week to do some tequila research. And the 1,580-square-foot space, which is larger than his first, will pimp an open kitchen smack-dab in the dining room, where guests at the seven-seat chef's counter can order their tacos directly from the "taqueros" -- the people who make life worth living.
There's also a pair of garage doors that will open to the streetscape on Irving, and, in addition, Morrison is planning to incorporate a few spinning spits to the kitchen's repertoire -- and not just carved and caramelized marinated pork, but lamb and goat, too. "We'll have a few traditional al pastor machines, and when we're out, we're out," he says, divulging, too, that he's contemplating doing al pastor on the sidewalk.
"Everything about this space is so cool," says Morrison. "It's got a great airy feel to it, I love this neighborhood, and there's a lot of support here," he adds, noting that the developer contacted him back in May to see if he was interested in signing a deal. "I remember getting an e-mail from him on a Sunday night, and on Monday, I went over to do a walk-through and everything just felt right. I knew it was a good fit."
And the timing, he says, is right, too. "The reason why we were able to sign a second lease is because I have an incredible crew of people that I work with, and a lot of them would like to move up, plus the public's embrace of what we've done in the original location has been nothing short of incredible," Morrison tells me.
And while he admits that he doesn't want to grow the concept too quickly, he also allows that he may do more. "I say that I want to move slow, but I'm always looking to see what's available," confesses Morrison. "But let's see how well we do here first."
And come early next year -- Morrison speculates that he'll open in January -- he'll find out. My guess is that he'll fucking crush it.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.