At a Glance
What is it?
A branch of the popular Los Angeles Mexican food joint.
Where is it?
At the Downtown Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas.
What kind of food is served?
Traditional Mexican, but better than the fast-food type junk.
What is the atmosphere like?
It’s a small place with only a handful of seating indoors.
How is the service?
Good – fast and efficient.
What are the prices like?
Very cheap. Nothing on the menu is over $10.
What else do I need to know?
The name of the place caused a bit of a stir here in Vegas. Read the review for more info.
What’s the bottom line?
A great spot for some fast, affordable, and really good Mexican food.
The popular Los Angeles chain of Mexican eateries came to Las Vegas with no small amount of furor. It seems that the word pinches, which the company insists means cooks or kitchen help, can be used in some cultures to be a dirty word. A local city councilman objected to the name, saying it was offensive and inappropriate to be used in a family venue, and tried to get the company to change it but threats of legal action against the city quelled the angst and profane or not, Pinches has arrived in Sin City.
It’s located in the Downtown Container Park on Fremont Street, just a couple of blocks from the Fremont Street Experience and diagonally across the street from El Cortez. The concept of putting businesses inside of recycled shipping containers and metal cubes means that the restaurant itself is tiny, with only a handful of seating, but there are lots of outdoor tables in the complex, many of which will be shaded on hot days.
The menu is about as classic, authentic Mexican as you can get: tacos, naturally, of all variety including chicken with mole, marinated pork, Angus beef, fish, shrimp, cactus, veggie, and more; burritos with a similar range of options and the choice of regular or wheat tortillas; sopes; tortas; enchiladas; taquitos; flautas; quesadillas; soups; and more. This is more – and more interesting – than anything you’re going to find at Taco Bell. Even the sides include things like cactus and Mexican corn on the cob served with cream, cheese, and chili powder.
We sampled three of the tacos (chicken, beef, and pork), which you can get as a combo plate with beans, rice, and tortilla chips. Unlike a lot of fast food places where various tacos taste pretty much the same, just with different meat, these each had their own personality. The chicken was simple in tone and texture; the beef was bold and flavorful; and the pork had a deep, slow-broiled flavor. All delightful.
Prices are crazy inexpensive, with single tacos all under $3 and the bulk of the other main courses and combo plates all under $9. You can’t get one taco at some of the Mexican joints on The Strip for under $10, so getting a full meal of really good ones for that cost is like a miracle.
Who cares what the name means? It’s muy bueno pinches comida.