By Emily Ureste
Good tacos. Good tequila. Sitting down and enjoying a meal with those around you. Jose Avila is passionate about these fine things in life.
Jose is a chef and co-owner at Machete Tequila + Tacos, which has three locations in Denver. His restaurant and philosophy on food is inspired by his roots, growing up in Mexico City. It is in this city that he grew up with all things tacos al pastor, which are the most iconic dish of the area. However, Jose recognizes that tacos al pastor are a unique mix of cultures and show the power of immigration. Originally, Lebanese immigrants brought the concept of tacos al pastor on a spit to Mexico, which is why the process is similar to gyros. Upon arrival, these newcomers were introduced to red peppers and pork, and the result was tacos al pastor. This dish is a unique blend of heritages, and its path has continued into the United States, where Mexican immigrants first introduced it to California.
There is value in every step of a journey, and Jose gives credit to each phase. Born and raised in Mexico City, it is here that he learned the importance of food, family, and community. Food was a tool for gathering people together to watch soccer or to simply catch up. It is these roots that led Jose to open Machete Tequila + Tacos, a staple in Denver’s food scene.
As a small business owner, he recognizes the importance of having fresh produce and giving back to local communities by supporting farmers. Machete has grown solely by word of mouth, and Jose values his customers- he has even catered the weddings of customers that met at his restaurant!
The phrase Buen Provecho brings a message of warmth and family. “Especially being in another country away from your family,” Jose confides, “everytime you hear it, it feels warm. It makes you feel home.” Jose will be making his tacos al pastor for Buen Provecho, don’t miss him!