Filling CoMo’s taco void

Lindsey Spratt’s Boss Taco brings authentic Mexican tacos to Downtown Columbia.

Quick: Name the best taco place in CoMo.

Tough question, right? We have chains like Chipotle and local eats like El Rancho and Las Margaritas, but as far as quality tacos go, we’re in a bit of a taco desert.

Enter Boss Taco, the brainchild of Lindsey Spratt.

After living in Austin, Texas for eight years after graduating from MU, Spratt had grown accustomed to the city’s taco trucks and taquerias that offer a wide array of authentic Mexican tacos. Upon returning to Columbia, Spratt quickly became aware of the lack of restaurants specializing in tacos.

“Nothing like this was happening,” she says of her three-month-old business venture.

Boss Taco, owned and operated solely by Spratt herself, supplies tacos to a few local eateries, including Logboat Brewery and 9th Street Public House. Cooked in an industrial-sized kitchen housed in Broadway Brewery (Spratt’s the former kitchen manager), the tacos are, admittedly, quite time-consuming.

“For Logboat, I gather all the stuff on Monday. I cook the meats, make the salsa. Then on Tuesday, I make stickers (and other packaging items) and the fresh green salsa,” Spratt says.

For a recent order of 650 tacos, Spratt spent an estimated 100 hours preparing the order, with ingredients from local suppliers like Lucky’s Market and Patchwork Family Farms.

One of her most popular concoctions? The green chili pork tacos, with roasted Anaheim chilis, braised pork shoulder and the aforementioned fresh salsa verde. Spratt says her tacos are based off Mexican street tacos like the ones she enjoyed from food trucks in Austin, where she attended culinary school.

In addition to operating with no help (other than girlfriend Shannon Diaz, who occasionally pitches in), simply finding the space to house the operation is a challenge. Leaving Broadway Brewery to work at Boss full time means losing the brewery’s kitchen. While a new full-sized kitchen is a must, Spratt says there are no immediate plans to open a free-standing Boss Taco.

“A storefront would be nice, but (with the current model), there’s really no overhead, no need to change. (I’m able to make) enough to make a decent living,” she says.

Despite the normal challenges of opening a new business –– understanding costs, working with a small staff (OK, no staff), keeping it all organized –– Spratt says she wouldn’t have it any other way. The city “has the crowd (she) was looking for,” and is in desperate need of authentic, fresh tacos.

Boss Taco is a labor of love, of sorts, providing gourmet food to eager customers and filling CoMo’s taco void.

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