Supremo serves tacos. That’s mostly it, but it’s not everything.
You can find some variation of a taco on almost every menu across the country. But a taco has always been more than the sum of its edible parts. A taco is effort and vocation. It’s history and heritage. It’s a home and a feeling. Inspired by the roadside classics of SoCal, where popular Chicano street food was born, Supremo provides that feeling, that home, by representing the enduring spirit of early Alta California that flourishes in barrios all over.
The US-based taqueria is as native and influential to American culture as jazz and the blues. Mexican restaurateurs who adapted their dishes for American palates were cultural pioneers, remixing their inherited recipes as a means to thrive. Supremo’s founders grew up immersed in Chicano culture. Casual meals eating mole and barbacoa prepared by their friends’ mothers allowed them to discover parallels to the traditions of their own immigrant families. Friendly dinners soon turned into a lifelong affair with this cuisine, profoundly flavorful and wonderful in its complexity. It’s the pursuit to honor those recipes and memories that fuel this humble taco shop each day.
The convenient truth for us is this: No one hates tacos. That first bite, hot off la plancha, lavishly dressed in salsa and lime, is always a magical moment. But one cannot separate the vine from the root; that is to say, how do we contextualize Mexican food in the paradoxical reality that the culture’s cuisine is more embraced than its own people? The fact is that Mexico, historically and ever-increasingly, is a fundamental part of us all.
America works because these people do. These are the people who build our homes and maintain our roads; who care for and educate our children; who fuel virtually our entire food ecosystem. These are the people who pick our food, who raise our livestock, who transport, process, cook, and serve our meals. These are the people who clean up after us. Our world hinges upon their labor.
Through it all, they have stood resilient. That resilience has formed like a pearl around the grain of Chicano people who claim this land in the name of their ancestry; a land whose values and prosperity were created by and with our great migrant community. Whether we choose to accept that or not, it is our collective inheritance, one from which we all benefit. A simple proof would be to ask ourselves what we would do–what our story would be–without them. As their contributions are vital to every farm, grocer, and restaurant, we believe that it is in the food where we can begin to find those answers.
Authenticity is a complex thing. Supremo isn’t here to claim a mantle, nor tell others to stop coloring outside the lines. But be clear: our food is made as tribute, never parody. We follow in the footsteps of la loncheras, the OG food trucks that started it all, immigrants that fed their families by feeding the community. Like them, our focus is on bringing the flavors out of our ingredients, not adding them in. At Supremo, you won’t find staff dressed in sombreros offering bottomless margaritas on Cinco de Mayo. We don’t serve cheeseburger tacos with “zesty coleslaw”. Our holy trinity is maiz, el frijol, y el chile. The tortillas are made from organic nixtamal. The mole is spicy. The cheese isn’t fucking cheddar.
Supremo serves tacos, but more than that, our mission is reverence. We celebrate Mexican food as American food. Because it is.