Third generation restaurateur Harry Morton, founder of the Pink Taco chain, was reportedly found dead in his Beverly Hills, Calif. home on Saturday. He was 38-years old.
Beverly Hills police did not immediately respond to questions about the cause of death.
Morton was the son of Hard Rock Café co-founder Peter Morton and the grandson of restaurateur Arnie Morton, co-founder of Morton’s The Steakhouse.
Harry Morton also was an owner of the revamped Viper Room nightclub in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The Pink Taco concept was first created in 1999 for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, but father Peter Morton sold the hotel and passed the reins of the edgy Mexican brand — named for a slang term for female genitalia — to son Harry, who opened a second unit in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2006. The next year, Pink Taco made a bigger splash with its flagship debut in Los Angeles in the Westfield Century City mall. Those units have since closed.
In 2016, the then two-unit Pink Taco was acquired by Z Capital Partners, the private-equity group that bought Real Mex Restaurants, the parent of the El Torito, Acapulco and Chevys Fresh Mex chains, which has since been renamed Xperience Restaurant Group.
Xperience expanded the brand, which now includes units in Boston, Chicago and soon Miami.
In a statement, a company spokesman said, “We are saddened by the passing of Harry Morton, the founder and former owner of Pink Taco. Harry was a visionary and restaurateur ahead of his time, and his contributions, both professionally to our brand and personally to those he worked with, were numerous. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
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