Dallas Tequila Chronicles: Urban Taco's Markus Pineyro on the Pride and Passion for a Drink
Recently we wanted to learn about the best places in Dallas to drink tequila. Not in the sense of slamming shots, but in terms of a robust or select collection. Honestly, at first the idea was to create a quick list of the best five or 10 spots. Then after some research, we realized that simply wouldn't suffice. Just a few interviews in, it was apparent that tequila occupies a special place in many a heart. So, we'll take this journey a little slower as we begin a series of profiles on the best spots in Dallas for not only sipping tequila, but also embracing the culture around it.
Tequila has a bad rap. No, it shouldn't taste like gasoline. And, no, the only way to ingest it isn't by slamming a shot while the crowd cheers. Tequila is to be savored, if not for layers of earthen flavors tinged with the century-old process of making it, then for the heritage and culture that is poured into every bottle.
Markus Pineyro of Urban Taco agrees. He speaks of tequila with passion: "It's part of my culture, it's part of my heritage. It's a point of pride for me."
Pineyro moved to Dallas to from Mexico City, where he was born and raised, to attend SMU. After graduating, he managed some restaurants locally, then along with parent group Del Sur opened Urban Taco to offer the food he grew up with in a modern setting. And while Pineyro works hard on all aspects of his restaurants, from the food to hospitality and setting, his tequila collection is the soul of his restaurant.
Urban Taco carries 40 tequilas in-house, all of which are chosen through a pretty meticulous process. For Pineyro, the first hard and fast rule is that tequila must be sold and distributed throughout Mexico. "That means it has history and tradition in Mexico; not only sold for distribution in the U.S.," he says. "Those tequilas are only about marketing and fancy bottles."
Estate-grown tequilas are a second standard for Pineyro, which means the agaves used to make the tequila come from a specific field (the same field year after year), as opposed to being purchased in markets where agaves can come from a variety of different fields.