Openings and Closings

Spicy Pickle co-founder to start serving Mexican street food in mid-May

Lobster tacos, Colorado beef tongue, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs are coming soon to a food cart near you courtesy of Kevin Morrison and his new, devilishly-named street food venture Pinche Tacos.

The former Spicy Pickle exec is reorienting his career and pursuing his passion for the street cuisine of Mexico with some gourmet twists. A two-time cancer survivor, Morrison says that he departed the 40-store sandwich chain because "I want to get back to my passion of cooking and creating new restaurant concepts, re-connecting with the Denver culinary community, sailing, and spending time with my wife and family." Morrison was formerly Spicy Pickle's chief culinary officer and director of baking.

The "very small grazing menu" is what Morrison describes as "traditional Mexican street food with a modern flair," with an emphasis on sensibly and locally-sourced ingredients and overall mom and pop shop sensibilities. "I love the culture and the whole idea of the street thing," he says. Familiar Mexican staples like carne asada and carnitas reside on the menu alongside guajillo honey mayo, green onion crema and lobster poached in serrano chile butter.

Morrison has four carts in the works:

The first two are slated to launch mid-May, one on Saturdays at the Cherry Creek Farmers' Market and the other on Wednesday through Saturday evenings as well as for Rockies games somewhere near Coors Field. (Morrison could not reveal its exact location pending finalization of certain details -- stay tuned.)

A third will pop up at the Civic Center on Tuesdays in late May or early June, reveals Morrison, and a fourth will grace the 16th Street Mall around the same time (exact location remains pending).

True to street food form, the fare will be reasonably priced. Tacos will run about $2.50 each, combos for about $8, and the hugely badass sounding "meal in itself" Friday Sonoran hot dog special (a mesquite-smoked bacon-wrapped hot dog, smashed pinto beans, chopped tomato, caramelized onion, cotija cheese, roasted tomatillo salsa, guajillo honey mayo, chipotle mustard served with roasted jalapeño) will go for around $5.

Morrison says he'll rotate the menu seasonally and already has plans to add paletas (Mexican Popsicles). Morrison has also hooked up with a local tortilla-maker -- "Little Rich" -- to make the pliable little gems so key to Mexican food. "I'm really kind of anal about everything being homemade," Morrison says.

Oh, and the name: Pinche, a Mexican swear word essentially equivalent to the F-bomb, can also be used as a derogatory reference to kitchen help, explains Morrison, resulting in possibly one of the best deployments of double entendre of all time.

Recognizing this genius, Morrison says he eventually hopes to open an actual Pinche Tacos restaurant. A Pinche beer and apparel are in the works.