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Megan Finnerty
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 22, 2006 12:00 AM


• Q&A with Pink Taco chief Harry Morton

In a city aspiring to be defined by its good taste, a new Mexican restaurant, the Pink Taco, is opening with a name that some find offensive.

Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross was so put off by the name, a slang term for vagina, that she asked its owner to change it.

"I don't appreciate anything that offends more than half the population," Manross said. "But he said no and heard my concern. I really didn't want to see a business with that name opening anywhere here."

Sounding more strip club than cantina, the restaurant isn't coy about the double entendre.

"(The name) came out of a dish (that's on the menu), but it's tongue-in-cheek. It was amusing, catchy," Pink Taco CEO Harry Morton said. "You've got to stand out from the rest of the crowd."

The Scottsdale City Council will consider the Pink Taco's application for a liquor license May 15 and will vote whether to recommend that the state liquor board approve the license. No letters of opposition have been filed with the city so far, but Pink Taco management is nervous about the name controversy because the restaurant won't open without that license.

The original Pink Taco is inside Morton's family-owned Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where they serve strong margaritas and upscale food with sides of loud rock, Mexican art and "East LA" bric-a-brac, i.e. low-rider bicycles and license plates.

"I haven't had a single flap since the restaurant opened - in 6 years," Morton said.

Scottsdale is first in a planned expansion to other "AAA+ locations in A+ markets," he said.

The Pink Taco is slated to open in June on the corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads in the $250 million Scottsdale Waterfront.

The restaurant will be next to the elegant Wildfish Seafood Grille and boutiques where blouses sell for as much as the payment on a Lexus. Nearby condos under construction will cost as much as $4 million.

And the name does offend some.

"It's degrading to women. It sounds like a sexual slur," said Dorina Wilson, 40, of Phoenix, a mom who shops in the area regularly.

Dawn Staples-Kerr, 39, of Scottsdale, agreed.

"I don't think we'd even go to lunch there. It's already been a talking topic," she said. "We were like, 'Can you believe they're going to open something with that name here?' "

Moments later, Staples-Kerr explained the phrase to a friend who's 44. Giggling ensued.

David Roderique, the economic-vitality director for Scottsdale, also giggled when asked about the restaurant. Then he regained his composure.

"While there may be some people who have concerns about the name of the restaurant, we've got a younger crowd who appreciates more diversity and finding ways to slap the establishment," he said.

The leasing agents in charge of the Waterfront's retail space knew the name had baggage, but it didn't matter in the face of the hipster cachet the Pink Taco would bring, said LeDonna Spongberg, vice president of leasing at the Phoenix-based Corritore Co.

"We knew who they were, and we liked them; they bring a really high energy to the project," she said.

Future condo tenants haven't been turned off by the name, said Jeff Roberts, vice president of real estate development with Opus West, the Waterfront condo developer.

Rick Kidder, president of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, wonders if people aren't upset because the name goes over their heads.

"I've seen the Blue Burrito, and I thought, 'Oh, Pink Taco. OK.' " he said. "Somebody had to explain it to me. I just didn't get it."
 

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Discussion Starter #3
 

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I wore a t-shirt from the Pink Taco restaurant in Vegas for two years before someone finally told me what it meant.:laughing:
 

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34DDD said:
I wore a t-shirt from the Pink Taco restaurant in Vegas for two years before someone finally told me what it meant.:laughing:
So did you stop wearing it when you found out?
 

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34DDD said:
I wore a t-shirt from the Pink Taco restaurant in Vegas for two years before someone finally told me what it meant.:laughing:
A likely story :laughing: :rolling: :laughing: :rolling:
 

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poudre said:
So did you stop wearing it when you found out?
Well, no.:rolling: But I was more careful where I wore it!
 

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34DDD said:
Well, no.:rolling: But I was more careful where I wore it!

What do you mean by "careful" where you wore it? Like where wouldn't you wear it??


B.T.W. You need an avitar more congruent with "34DDD" :laughing:
 

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poudre said:
What do you mean by "careful"?


B.T.W. You need an avitar more congruent with "34DDD" :laughing:
You mean you don't love my new avatar? That's my future husband. He just doesn't know it yet :laughing:
 

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34DDD said:
You mean you don't love my new avatar? That's my future husband. He just doesn't know it yet :laughing:
After marriage, of course, you better sleep in a separate bedroom with the door locked and a gun under your pillow. :laughing:
 

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