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What's in a name? Ask Kevin Morrison, owner of Pinche Taqueria

Don't refer to it as "Pinche"...at least not in this city.
Don't refer to it as "Pinche"...at least not in this city.
Mark Manger

The words Pinche Tacos may be lettered across the food truck that Kevin Morrison revved up almost two years ago, but the irreverent name didn't fly when he wanted to put a food cart on the 16th Street Mall. Or when he wanted to open a restaurant whose working name was Pinche Taqueria.

A Spanish speaker at the Denver Partnership, which oversees the vendors on the mall, realized that "pinche" translates roughly as "fucking" -- and it's used as an emphatic expletive in kitchens across town. But that wasn't going to fly in a public space.

"The 16th Street Mall made us change our name," Morrison recalls. "So we had a contest and someone came up with a new one." That new name was Tacos Borrachos, Spanish for "drunken tacos," which also captured the cheeky spirit of the venture, even if it didn't exactly stick -- I've never heard anyone refer to the cart as anything other than Pinche Tacos.

Morrison's naming problems didn't end there: They followed him to the brick-and-mortar site he opened this fall, where they were aggravated by the fact that he wanted a tequila- and whiskey-themed cocktail menu to supplement his list of street tacos. "The liquor board has an ethics clause," he explains. "They said, 'Given our current guidelines, if you change your name, we'll give you a liquor license.'"

Morrison complied, using Tacos Borrachos as his DBA on all city documentation. That name doesn't appear anywhere on the restaurant, however. Instead, he posted a sign on the front of the space that simply reads: "tacos, tequila, whiskey." That's also what's listed on receipts from the restaurant -- while credit-card statements call it Tacos Borrachos.

In fact, because of the liquor-license rules, Morrison is hesitant to say exactly what the name of his restaurant is. Instead, he lets his guests -- and there are many -- decide what to call it. "Some people call us tacos, tequila, whiskey, some call us Pinche Taqueria," he says. "It's all the same place."

For my review of that place in this week's Westword, I went with Pinche Taqueria.

No matter what you call it, it's pinche good.

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