Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught’s Montrose-area restaurant, Hugo’s, has been named one of America’s Best Margarita Bars by Food & Wine magazine. Beverage director Sean Beck, who was also a James Beard “Outstanding Wine Program” semifinalist in 2015 for his work at Hugo’s, oversees the drink program.
“We are honored to be included in the list of best Margarita bars, especially as it's the most popular cocktail in America,” Beck said in an emailed statement. “We've always focused on a lot of things besides margaritas, but that was the first thing I ever worked on when designing Hugo's bar program 15 years ago. At the time, everyone did frozen margaritas and few if any places made their margaritas to order or with fresh ingredients (sweet and sour mix was everywhere). We wanted people to taste the purity of the tequila, the freshness and the vibrancy of a good margarita, and we wanted it to be shaken in front of them. It's thrilling to see how well run cocktail programs are today and that we are considered to be one of the best.”
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It’s the second national nod for Beck’s beverage programs in just the past few weeks. The wine program at Hugo’s also received an “award of excellence” from Wine Spectator, an honor it has held since 2003. His programs at other Vaught-Ortega restaurants Caracol and Backstreet Cafe did even better, each getting a “best award of excellence” for the second consecutive year.
This is the second national nod for Houston’s restaurant scene in the past few days. Thai restaurant Foreign Correspondents was named one of only 50 nominees nationwide by Bon Appétit for its "Hot 10: America’s Best New Restaurants 2016" list.