Where it all Began: The History of Our 6th Street location

Almost three decades ago, Z’Tejas opened its doors for business. Our first location, still located on in Austin, Texas’ historic 6th Street, is a Victorian house-turned-restaurant. The reason we chose to start our flavorful journey in the Old Town district? Between a bakery and seafood shop, there weren’t many restaurants in the downtown area. With only a glance, we immediately knew what was missing: a fresh, flavorful Southwestern restaurant to revitalize the area.

From day one, there’s been very little renovation on our cherished building. Each year, we grow stronger in our resolve to uphold the 6th Street charm through the colors, style and culture. Our Victorian house, with its spacious patios and cozy nooks to explore, allows guests to look around in wonder while dining on fresh, innovative food. This experience is unique to Old Town Austin and we’re proud to keep it going.

Adding to the charm and popularity of this location is the live music. Each week, local brands are recruited for guest’s entertainment and to increase exposure for local talent. But this is nothing new! Local bands have been performing here since we opened, almost 3 decades ago. This is one more way Z’Tejas keeps the experience local. Shows are held most weekends, so take a look at the 6th Street Facebook page to see who is playing this week!

Historic charm, live music and tasty food blend together for an experience that keeps guests coming back. Over the years, 6th Street has seen many proposals, family pictures, wedding venues and long-time customers. And the Z’Tejas family continues to grow! Guests from around the nation (and the world) stop by for a bite to eat during their travels.

Now, almost 30 years since opening, our original location is as busy as ever. Come experience a legendary meal you won’t forget on 6th Street in the Old Austin area.

 

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Our Treasured Secrets to Making the Best Margaritas

At first glance, margaritas seem simple. After all, these delicious drinks are a carefully balanced combination of tequila, ice, lime juice and salt. While these ingredients alone make a good margarita, there’s something more in Z’Tejas’ margaritas that makes them legendary.

In order to fully understand the margarita, you start at the beginning with tequila. Tequila is the foundation of this refreshing drink and comes in 3 forms: Blanco, Reposado and Añejo.

 

Tequila: The Tantalizing Foundation

 

Blanco tequila—also known as silver or white—is clear and unaged. Since it is bottled immediately or shortly after distillation, it maintains the agave’s natural sweetness.

Tequila Reposado is the first stage of “aged” or “rested” tequila. After distillation, the tequila is aged in wooden barrels for 2-11 months, where it develops a golden hue and smoother flavor.

Tequila Añejo is “extra aged”, aged for a year or more. Due to the extra time, the tequila turns amber and develops a more complex flavor.

 

Building a Margarita

 

Every margarita listed on our menu uses one of the three types of tequila listed above. After tequila comes the addition of ice, liqueurs, fruit and/or vegetables, depending on the drink. It’s then shaken up in a cocktail shaker and served with a smile!

There’s an art to making margaritas with a Southwestern twist. And who would know more about this than our fantastic bartenders?

Throughout his 22 years of working at Z’Tejas in Phoenix, Martie has found that the number one summer drink is the Skinny Margarita. This clean margarita, made with blanco tequila, lime juice and agave, is especially popular during Happy Hour. After all, who isn’t happy with a refreshing, low-calorie margarita in their hand?

Whereas in Texas, Mark is constantly making Hard Day Margaritas, made of 1800 Reposado, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, agave nectar and orange juice. With delicious ingredients like these, t’s not difficult to guess why the Hard Day is the most popular drink! Coincidentally, the Hard Day is Mark’s favorite drink from the menu. The complex flavors mixed with the sweetness of the orange juice makes it an official crowd-pleaser.

 

Our Secrets

 

With an understanding of margaritas, we now share the prized margarita secret kept by all Z’Tejas bartenders: agave nectar. Agave nectar is used in many of our margaritas to add a hint of sweetness that cuts the lime’s powerful sour punch. Guests can still taste a small kick of lime in their drinks alongside the sweetness of the agave for a perfect blend in every margarita.

Second only to the ingredients, the cocktail shaker is a crucial element in building the perfect margarita. These bottles do more than make your drink cold; they blend the flavors of the tequila, liqueurs, fruits and vegetables while aerating the drink. The result? Each margarita is smoother and the flavors are blended perfectly.

While we can’t give all our secrets away, we love sharing tips and tricks with fellow margarita-lovers. Knowing how different tequilas and liqueurs taste and blend puts you on the right track for making the best margarita to fit your tastes. What’s your favorite margarita on the Z’Tejas menu?

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22 Years of Mixology with Martie

Martie is one of our fantastic bartenders at the Gateway location.

While he has been bartending at Z’Tejas for 22 years, Martie didn’t start his career as mixing drinks. Years ago, Martie graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a minor in Finance. After graduation, he lived in California for a few years, but wasn’t satisfied with his job or life there.

Martie ultimately decided to pack up and move back to Arizona, where he started bartending to pay the bills. The more he worked, the more he discovered that he loved the job! A huge benefit of his new job was the flexibility; as a bartender, Martie could work whenever he wanted. He took advantage of this to spend time with his kids—taking them to school, helping them with homework—before going to work in the evenings. There was freedom in this schedule; something Martie didn’t have with previous jobs.

His change in careers originally began at a bar located in Scottsdale, Arizona. While Martie was bartending there, the building began a 3-month remodel. Rather than waiting for the bar to reopen, Martie decided to hand in his notice and try his luck elsewhere. Fortunately, at this time, Z’Tejas was opening a new location in Phoenix. When Martie went in to apply for a bartending position, he was hired on the spot.

From the upbeat atmosphere to the regulars who come to see him, Martie has and continues to enjoy every aspect of the job. Throughout the 22 years he’s been working at Z’Tejas, Martie has built and cultivated long-term relationships with many of his customers. Many more customers than could be mentioned in this article!

Martie is originally from London and has lived in America for more than 30 years. He is passionate about his family, dogs, wine and making new friends.

Come get to know Martie in person! He works at the Gateway location, found on East Shea Blvd  and North Tatum Blvd in Phoenix, Arizona.

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