When Taylor Mason returned home to Chicago after spending some time living in Los Angeles, she knew she would miss her friends, the culture, and the haunts that’d become familiar to her. But what she really knew she would long for…were the tacos.
“Chicago is definitely one of the food capitals of the world, but it was California’s street style Mexican food that kind of captured my heart and stomach,” she told ESSENCE.
After quickly realizing the corporate route wasn’t for her, she stopped going on interviews and set her sights on starting a business: a taco stand. And although her food was delicious, it wasn’t until a friend connected her to authentic Mexican culinary culture did her entrepreneurial journey change forever.
“My friend, who is 100% Mexican, would literally came over my house every single day just on some ‘I’m your friend, and I love to cook, and this is what we do because we’re neighbors.’ And taught me everything his mom taught him, from salsas to cecina to all these different things. And I didn’t realize how impactful and life changing that would be towards my business, because I’m never trying to be anything that I’m not. I mean, I’ve learned that Mexican culture runs parallel to Black culture,” she said acknowledging how similar the communities are. “I really learned how alike we are as a people and kind of how that plays in our food—I just wanted to pay homage to that.”
Once she’d perfected her take on the delicious options, she launched Taylor’s Tacos in 2017, a pop-up catering company alongside her wife, Maya Mason. Now, less than five years later they’ve expanded into a flagship location on the city’s near west side. The reception has been incredible.
“That is probably the most humbling part of all of this,” she told ESSENCE. “It’s just so crazy. Like, just when people are posting us, reposting us, and just reading the comments and when people come in here and they’re just telling us how proud they are of us or they followed us for years. She continued: “It’s just been so amazing to watch us grow and to hear so many people tell you they support what you’re doing, in our own way. You now, that Black people can create a food business pays homage other cultures beside our own. It’s incredible and I’m grateful for it everyday.”