Kevin Morrison thought he was onto something when he created his new Mexican street food venture, but naming it "Pinche Tacos" -- "pinche" is Spanish slang roughly equivalent to the F-bomb -- hasn't exactly struck a positive chord with everybody.
The Downtown Denver Business Improvement District was so uncharmed, in fact, that it recently withdrew its earlier approval for Morrison to hawk his gourmet tacos, Sonoran hot dogs and other Mexican street fare on the 16th Street Mall pending the switch to a more G-rated name. "Some people can't take a pinche joke," deadpans the Pinche Tacos website.
Sarah Neumann, the district's public relations and communications manager, says the committee responsible for approving new vendors at first didn't realize what the word meant. When the committee responsible for approving new vendors recently revisited Morrison's application, she says, "a Spanish-speaking member ... noted that the name 'pinche' could be offensive to some."
"The committee looked into the matter, and learned that the slang definition of this word does not uphold the standards for commercial speech that we have set for the Mall," says Neumann.
This is where you come in.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
To make a potentially sour situation into an infinitely sweet one, Morrison decided to get family, friends and the community involved. From today until Friday, June 4, Morrison is seeking suggestions for a new name for his 16th Street cart via Pinche Tacos' Facebook page.
All you've gotta do is become a fan of Pinche Tacos and then start naming away. Morrison says he hopes to see people "like" and make comments on others' suggestions to get a feel for what people like and want.
Vote now, and vote often, because to enhance the fun, Morrison's turned the naming game into an all-out competition. Whoever pegs the winning name will get free weekly lunches for a year (!) or a $500 Pinche Tacos catering package, which Morrison says would involve having one of the carts come to your house or party and feed up to 30 people.
Meanwhile, Morrison is moving ahead with plans to establish Pinche Tacos carts at less offended locations. The first is slated to launch at the Cherry Creek Farmers' Market this weekend. He's working on a couple of dry runs this week, he says, which may include making unannounced visits to local businesses.