Norman restaurant offers twist on traditional dining with tequila


Waitress Lauren Todd serves margaritas to customers as they await the tequila dinner at Puebla Tacos y Tequileria. The dinner includes beer, tequila, a three-course meal and a tequila 101 course.

Chelsea Horn

A local Norman restaurant has been elevating the dining experience for the Mexican food lovers of Oklahoma by incorporating a tequila element to their dinners.
Puebla Tacos y Tequileria offers an informative tequila dinner experience the first Thursday of each month. The dinner includes a tequila 101 course, a three-course meal and tequila samples hand-picked by Anthony Arellano, the tequila specialist for the state of Oklahoma.
“I prepare the meals according to the taste profile of the tequila,” said Armando Rivera, owner and chef of Puebla. “It’s a complete experience, we pair the food and tequila in harmony with one another.”
Puebla has been open for business for two years now, serving up a twist on the typical Mexican food of Oklahoma. Rivera takes a different approach to Mexican food by smoking the meats for 12 hours each night and applying his home-made spices and seasonings to them.
Rivera and his business partner, Clint Strickland, opened Puebla after sampling an array food from around the world. The partners met as musicians and later visited dozens of countries around the world, absorbing the food culture in each place.
“Anytime we would travel, we’d go eat at a restaurant and Clint would insist we open our own,” Rivera said. “One day in November of 2014, he called me out of the blue and said, ‘Hey let’s open a restaurant!’ And here we are!”
Rivera expressed his desire to serve the community of Norman real Mexican food, not the “over-done Tex-Mex” style.
Along with the new style of food, Puebla offers the only tequila bar in Norman, with more than 120 types of tequilas on hand.
“We want to offer something really good that won’t break the bank for people,” Rivera stated. “You don’t have to go to OKC to get a wide variety of tequilas, you have it in Norman.”
Both Rivera and Strickland are hoping that the city of Norman will grow to know and enjoy authentic Mexican food through Puebla. With everything homemade and customers in and out each day, the authentic taste of Puebla has been spreading.
“Plans for expansion are always in our minds, but opening a restaurant is a huge endeavor,” Rivera explained. “We want to hone all of our skills and continue to learn and master things in this restaurant before we open a second restaurant.”