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The Sendera brings tequila bar to Crossroads area (w/video)

By by j.r. ortega/jrortega@vicad.com
Jan. 22, 2014 at 2:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 21, 2014 at 7:22 p.m.

Bar Manager at The Sendera, Christopher Benton, of Victoria, left, shows Shelly Johnson, of Victoria, right, handwritten notes that come with a bottle of high-end Casa Dragones  tequila. "He (Benton) is so knowledgeable, it makes it fun," Johnson said.

George Carlin once said, "one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor."

What we didn't know was Carlin may have been talking about the new tequila bar on the 12th floor of One O'Connor Plaza.

OK, maybe not, but it's already being talked about in the Crossroads' social scene.

In mid-2013, Dennis Patillo and his wife, Louise Hull Patillo, opened their latest dining endeavor, The Sendera. And now, at the back end of the restaurant sits a lounge area with a Spanish flavor and a bar with more than 100 types of tequila.

The goal, said Shannon Cummins, who runs The Sendera, is to have about 150 bottles of tequila ranging from blancos to extra anejos.

The Sendera is even finalizing with Jose Cuervo - Maestro Dobel to make its own blend of tequila by midyear.

"The tequila market is really doing well in the U.S.," said Cummins. "It's seeing a lot of growth."

The idea for something different had been in store since the construction of The Sendera began, Dennis Patillo said.

At first, the plan was to gut the bar in the back, where the tequila bar now sits. What ended up happening, he said, was many people shared their memories of why that bar meant a lot.

So plan B was to make the bar into a full bar for private parties, but then, an experience Patillo had in New Mexico changed that idea.

A restaurant brought out a menu of about 50 tequilas, so Patillo brought that idea to The Sendera.

"What's more Texan than tequila?" Patillo said. "There is nothing like this in this part of the world."

The nearest tequila bar, as far as Patillo knows, is in Houston, which Patillo said has a decent selection of tequilas.

The Sendera's selection sits along the bar in beautifully candescent glamour, but the hard part, Cummins said, is that the majority of people don't know much about tequila.

They know one or two types, but when it comes to the ages, nuances and artisanal-type tequilas, they shy away.

"It's unbelievable how many tequilas there are," Cummins said. "We've learned a lot, and we are learning every day."

Patillo likens tequila tasting to wine connoisseuring a decade ago.

To help the public relate more to tequila, the bar has, along with its menu, a list of "flights" of tequila, which start customers off by pairing different tequilas from its four ages to find out what their flavor is.

"Tequila, what can you say?" Patillo said. "It's not just for spring break anymore."

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