Soul Taco is a "soul & passion" project. The owner, Chef Dawn Sloan, studied, learned and practiced her skill set in Michelin Star restaurants. These restaurants taught and focused on discipline and perfection; fantastic for a kitchen, but Chef Sloan still felt wanting....as if she was missing a part of herself in the kitchen. As a descendent of the south, she understands the meaning behind soul filling food. "The Soul" is in direct correlation with, not only the beauty in and of the food, but also how the food directly connects with the customers. The "soul" is THE essential part of the food. With the push and help of friends and family (...and some recipes from her grandmothers and great grandmother) Soul Taco was created
four years ago, Chef Sloan tested a theory surrounding community and food –if you bring people together over a table of food, communion, you can drive difficult discussions, with perfect strangers, around differences creating constructive synergy instead of destructive static. Taking that theory, she and her Sous Chef. Leah placed a simple taco truck in a community in Houston that knew everything about Tex-Mex but nothing about the soul food twist Chef Sloan placed on the tacos. Breakfast tacos are a staple in Texas... but adding soul food to "trick out" the tacos created a buzz in the community. Chef Sloan uses local vendors to help master the "mama's table" flavors in the food.
In May of 2022, the COVID crises began to affect the food industry in a different way- increasingly higher pricing on food items. As of that month, Chef Sloan took a chance. She paid her employees and closed the food truck. She. Still had the dream of opening Soul Taco as a brick & mortar. The brand and the food became a staple in the community …… plus the food is amazing! After taking 8 months in locate an affordable place in the community to reopen the brand and negotiating, as of January 2023, a lease has been signed and we have put all the ducks in a row to get the location opened by August 2023 for the community. .
The tacos and categories are named after classic soul singers and songs Chef Sloan grew up listening to, with her grandmothers, as she learned at their hands in their kitchens - her 1st Michelin Star Kitchen. The menu is designed to inspire conversations with the customers as well as employees who don't know or understand the rich culture of soul food and the instrumental part it plays in the American cuisine. This menu, this creation is a homage to her family heritage. Chef Sloan originates from a long linage of chefs - but until the 60's, black people were not "privileged" or 'worthy' to be called chef, they were considered "cooks" - this is helping to morph and break that stereotype.
Soul Taco is also attempting to shatter the glass ceiling in the restaurant industry by creating a space for female chefs and chefs of color to come, train and learn how to hold their own in a professional kitchen setting without their talents being discounted. Much of the staff are female, of color and/or have been marginalized or abused in this industry due to their sex or race. This kitchen is a safe space and where they can learn from a Michelin trained chef about creativity, excellence and most of self-worth.
Since we took the leap to brick & mortar, we have organized our funding to keep this progression flowing. We have a couple of “surprise fees” from the city that is slowing down the opening- we cannot let that happen! We simply need $40,000 to be certain we are not “robing Peter to pay Paul” situation. That is not the way to start a profitable business. We are reaching out for help to keep small businesses thriving.