Z’Tejas Southwest Grill serves Southwestern cuisine with bold, flavorful twists. Rebekah Schultz has been a part of the Z’Tejas family since 2011 and became an official bartender at the Paradise Valley location in 2014. Working at Z’Tejas is a family affair — literally. Schultz has worked with three of her sisters over the years and met her husband while working at the restaurant as well.
We recently had the chance to sit down with Schultz and get her backstory on how her career has evolved at Z’Tejas and what the restaurant and bar have to offer.
Tell me about your career as a bartender.
I started here working as a hostess when I was 18 while one of my older sisters was working here as a bartender at the time. Then I kind of just worked my way up, worked really hard, on time always. Worked throughout school — high school and college. Then I started cocktail serving and then worked my way up to bartending. Right now, I’m bartending and serving with all of the changes due to COVID. Now, with bartending, I like to do that because I have two kids at home. Once I graduated college, I did both. I graduated with a teaching degree, so I did a little preschool job while I was still bartending and then I had my two kids. I thought I could juggle both and then realized the bar atmosphere was a little better for me just with having kids. I kind of enjoyed this a little more — meeting new people, co-workers, guests, everything like that.
What is your favorite memory behind the bar?
I met my husband here. We have been married for four years now and have two kids, 5 and 3. I would say meeting my husband is a favorite memory, and the other would be working with my sisters. I worked with three of my sisters here for several years. I work with one sister here now.
What’s your go-to drink when you’re at a bar other than your own?
I would say a margarita. I especially like the ones here.
Best piece of advice for someone looking to get into the industry?
I would say to be eager to meet new people and build relationships with people, especially co-workers. Always be a team player with those co-workers. Every guest who comes in here is everyone’s guest. Even though they know you work behind the bar, you might go drop off food. The guests at the table are always your guests. I’ve met some of the most amazing people here over the 10 years I’ve been here. I see them outside of work, whether they are a co-worker or my bar regulars. I’ve gone to cookie exchange parties for my bar regulars from 10 years ago. Be a team player and never really judge a book by their cover. Treat everyone the same way.
What does ordering a vodka tonic say about a person?
I would probably say it just kind of means they are simple and they want a simple drink or even just a quick drink.
Tell me about the beverage program at Z’Tejas.
We have always been really popular for our Chambord margaritas — which we still are. We’ve been going more with our rocks margaritas where they are made with fresh lime juice and agave nectar. We’ve been putting more flavors in them. We make our own spicy tequila where we infuse it ourselves. It’s the Maestro Dobel tequila, and we infuse it with our jalapenos, habaneros and serrano pepper, and that is in our jalapeno cucumber margarita, which is spicy yet refreshing. We also started doing a tequila flight and offering zero-proof drinks for people that don’t want alcoholic beverages. We have a mango peach iced tea or a watermelon mango soda where it’s our watermelon mango purees with soda and lime juice in it. Everyone gets something to drink.
What cocktail would you love for us to feature in the magazine?
I like the watermelon strawberry margarita ($11).
What do you like about the drink?
It’s very refreshing and very spring-like even though you can drink it all year-round. It’s personally my favorite margarita. I would say you can still taste the tequila and the lime juice and taste it as a margarita. It’s not too sweet, but you still get a little bit of the watermelon and the strawberry flavor to it.
Watermelon strawberry margarita
1 1/2 ounces Gran Centenario Plata tequila
1/2 ounce strawberry syrup
1/2 ounce watermelon syrup
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce agave
Shake up in a shaker with ice. Salt a margarita glass and strain over ice. Garnish with a slice of watermelon covered in Tajin and a slice of lime
Z’Tejas Southwest Grill
10625 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix
For other locations, visit the website