Is El Chingon a "bad ass" -- or the "best of the best"?

Danielle Lirette
Names have been making headlines lately, thanks to the debate over the Washington Redskins. This week I'm reviewing a restaurant that sparked a controversy of its own. No, it isn't Pinche Taqueria, with a name so vulgar -- it translates to "fucking" -- that the owners aren't allowed to put it on signage, which is why the signs for those two locations trumpet "Tacos, tequila, whiskey" instead. It also isn't Los Chingones, Troy Guard's taqueria known for such wild fillings as camel, octopus and antelope. No, this week, my review is of El Chingon, whose name, like that of Guard's place, basically means "bad ass." But that's not what the family that owns the place was going for when they chose the moniker.

See also: Pinche can mean many things, including "delicious tacos"

"Traditionally in Mexico, [el chignon] means 'the best of the best,'" says David Lopez, executive chef at El Chingon and grandson of Gloria Nunez, who shares the executive chef title at the spot owned by her son.

We can only hope to be as productive as she is when we're in our seventies, holding down a professional kitchen and turning out 25 gallons of salsa a week. But does the Mexican restaurant, which reopened in December after a lengthy closure during its move from Arvada to the Berkeley neighborhood, live up to its controversial name? Is it the best of the best -- or just a bad ass? Find our when my review is posted here tomorrow.

Location Info

El Chingon

4326 Tennyson St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Pinche has different meanings:

In Spain, the word refers to a kitchen helper. It mainly means a restaurant chef assistant or a kitchen helper who helps cook the food and clean the utensils. Another meaning is used as an insult, as in pinche güey ("loser"), or to describe an object of poor quality, está muy pinche ("It really sucks"). Many restaurants in Spain have the name "El Pinche", to the great amusement of Mexican and Chicano tourists.

In Mexico, the saying can range anywhere from semi-inappropriate to very offensive depending on tone and context. Furthermore, it is often equivalent to the English terms "damn", "freakin'" or "fuckin'", as in estos pinches aguacates están podridos… ("These damn avocados are rotten…"); Pinche Mario ya no ha venido… ("Freakin' Mario hasn't come yet"); or ¿¡Quieres callarte la pinche boca!?("Would you like to shut your fuckin' mouth?"), but most likely should be translated to the euphemism "frickin'" in most situations. Therefore, it can be said in front of adults, but possibly not children, depending on one's moral compass. Sometimes pinchudo(a) is said instead. It refers to a mean-spirited person.

In Puerto Rico pinche simply refers to a hairpin, while pincho has the same meaning in Dominican Spanish.

In Chile, pinche isn't vulgar, and it refers to the people involved in an informal romantic relationship with each other. The verbal form pinchar can be translated as "kissing" or "make out". In Mexico it also a derogatory name for someone who is stingy: "El es muy pinche." ("He is very stingy.").

davebarnes topcommenter

Am a huge fan of El Chingon.

The chile cheese fries are the best in Denver.

WillieStortz topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay Do you think the place make Spanish tacos? No

Puerto Rican tacos? No. Chilean Tacos? No.

So why the fuck would it matter what Pinche means in those places? You post is moot like all the others before it.

ScubaSteve topcommenter


I've never seen chile cheese fries while visiting Mexico.  As a matter of fact, I've never seen many of the so-called "Mexican" foods found in the U.S. on my numerous visits to Mexico.  And I'm not just referencing Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada, either.



DonkeyHo would have played it off as his/her own expertise had you not called it out. Seriously tiring donkeyshit

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Elwood ... all the information in the world is just a fraction of a second away when you're online.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@WillieStortz "You [sic] post is moot like all the others before it. "

In Mexico, the saying can range anywhere from semi-inappropriate to very offensive depending on tone and context. Furthermore, it is often equivalent to the English terms "damn", "freakin' ..."

Does "Freakin Tacos"  or "Damn Tacos" sound offensive to anyone?

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@StevenGregory ... information wants to be free, no one owns it, numbnuts.

It ain't about the messenger, it's the message.

Pull your head out of your ass and learn something.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter


The generic definition of taco is a wedge used to plug a hole or something that obstructs the flow of a liquid. It is also a pool stick or the shoe heel for either men or women.

For example, ladies use tacos or tacones (plural of tacón) that means high heels. In Puerto Rico, young women also refer to their high heels as las tacas.

If you travel through Latin America, you will be amazed by the abundance of meanings that this simple word has. 

In Chile and Colombia it is a traffic congestion. Another meaning in Chile is a scrap of paper to make a quick note, like a post-it and in Costa Rica it is to be scared as in the phrase ¡Qué taco!

In some countries the soccer shoes are called tacos de fútbol.

Spain has several usages. It could be used in reference to years of age such as María tiene veinte tacos. Another meaning is a bad or insulting word and also to make a fuss.

In Venezuela and Cuba taco is an intelligent person. For Bolivians it is a person that has a high alcohol tolerance and doesn’t get drunk easily and when Puerto Ricans say Ese tipo es un tacothey mean that he is a very nice person.

If you hear the phrase Darse el taco it can mean to drink wine or, in El Salvador, to brag. There are other expressions such as Se me hizo un taco en la garganta that is used when someone is about to cry and can barley talk after experience a strong moving feeling. 

In México you will hear un taco de cancer in reference to a cigarette or un taco de ojo when you are delighted by what you see in terms of the opposite sex.


@DonkeyHotay @StevenGregory Looks like I struck a nerve, the donkey is shitting all over himself trying to sound tough.

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