Lake Dawson, the corporate chef for Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and his partner Michael Boynton, have a side job and it involves tacos. Boynton found himself seeking out quality, authentic tacos everywhere he went. The idea for a taco truck was born.
Propósito, the duo’s new blue and white food truck that sits in the parking lot of the Exxon at the corner of Lindbergh Drive and Piedmont Road, opened two weeks ago. It serves breakfast and lunch tacos with classic Mexican flavors such as barbacoa and al pastor pork, along with quesadillas and icy bottles of Mexican Coke.
Propósito means “purpose” in Spanish, a name Dawson and Boynton gave the truck because they believe in being purposeful with every decision. “Everything from creating our tacos from scratch to paying our employees a high wage,” Lawson says. “We’re even getting our uniforms made from a company called Krochet Kids, [which employs women struggling with poverty in Uganda and Peru].”
Dawson decided early on that fresh tortillas would be a priority. He experimented with the feasibility of nixtamalization (the process of boiling and soaking corn in a solution using calcium hydroxide or pickling lime) and grinding corn in a mobile kitchen. Once they figured out their tortilla recipe and got the process down—they use a tortilla press and pregrind the corn—they built the taco recipes from there, contemplating important existential questions such as, “What is the perfect breakfast taco?” (The answer, judging from Proposito’s all-day breakfast menu, is scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese combined with either barbacoa, bacon, migas, or chorizo and potatoes.)
I sampled a couple of their tacos one recent Saturday morning. While I appreciate the extra steps they are taking to make their tortillas from scratch, they do need a little work. Dawson told me he is limited by his equipment and would prefer the tortillas to be thicker, but a good tortilla needs to pliable and, if they are too thick, they crack instead of bend. Because the truck was also understaffed and overwhelmed during my first visit, the otherwise tasty corn and flour (also made fresh) tortillas weren’t warmed enough, which made them infinitely less bendy. Still, the flavors—spiced pastor pork contrasting against the acidity of fresh pineapple, topped with cilantro and corn—made my tastebuds perk up. I returned for a chorizo, potato, and egg taco one morning, and it hit the spot. (Mexican breakfast is the bestest.)
Propósito is a stationary truck, so no need to follow it around, and is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They also offer catering—for $10 a head, they’ll pull the truck around and serve each person two tacos or a quesadilla, chips and homemade salsa, and a drink. If you want to keep up with their specials, follow their Instagram.