Meet the Chef: Watson Taylor and Jordan Smith of Atomic Tacos

Meet the Chef: Watson Taylor and Jordan Smith of Atomic Tacos

Watson Taylor has lengthy been fascinated with the Chilly Conflict period, and so when he and Jordan Smith started discussing opening up a meals truck and began attempting to examine a model, his thoughts went to a radioactive place. The 2 ultimately settled on the identify Atomic Tacos.  

Impressed largely by avenue meals and the various culinary scenes in Los Angeles and Seattle, Smith defined that the Atomic Tacos menu is populated with dishes that he and Taylor wish to eat. It’s a easy take a look at, however the ensuing flavors have led to an eclectic menu for his or her Flathead Valley patrons. There’s all the time the selection to maintain it easy and go together with a trio of rooster tacos, or maybe an order of carnitas tacos made with pork shoulder braised slowly in a mix of spices, citrus and lard, after which served on corn tortillas with salsa verde, pickled pink onion and cilantro.

However one can all the time stray a bit farther from the standard with one thing just like the chili lime-roasted cauliflower tacos, and even float away on a carnivore’s daydream with a plate of Korean barbecue tacos loaded with crispy, and but nonetheless succulent cuts of pork stomach in a candy, savory sauce and topped with apple cabbage slaw. Beef and lamb gyros served on naan are additionally provided by the taco truck. There’s just one quesadilla possibility nevertheless it’s a severe one—the birria quesadilla. The slow-braised beef has an nearly pot-roast-like taste and tenderness, and earlier than it’s melted right into a quesadilla, Taylor provides cilantro, onion, salsa Roja and cheese to the equation. It comes with a aspect of wealthy beef broth, often known as beef consommé, for dipping.

Meet the Chef: Watson Taylor and Jordan Smith of Atomic Tacos
John Smith and Watson Taylor. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon
Carnitas tacos from Atomic Tacos. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Taylor and Smith opened Atomic Tacos to prospects on St. Patrick’s Day in March 2022. On the time duck fats fries have been on the menu, however they’ve since needed to settle for that it’s simply an excessive amount of for them to maintain up with. Likewise, at one level they have been serving tacos al pastor with the meat lower within the conventional method off a vertically oriented spit often known as a trompo. The trompos turned out to be demanding just a little extra energy than the meals truck might deal with, and they also reverted to an tailored cooking methodology that permits them to reliably hold the lights on. There was additionally curiosity in providing a katsu burger, which is a burger coated and fried in Japanese panko breading. In the end, Smith and Watson selected providing solely a spicy katsu rooster sandwich to assist hold their workload extra manageable.

Each Taylor and Smith are former Scottibelli’s staff, with Taylor having labored for years as a chef within the kitchen, and Smith primarily within the entrance of the home. Taylor stated earlier in life his mother and father persuaded him to not go to culinary faculty, and so he labored in contracting. Life ultimately led him to work in serving and bartending, earlier than he moved into the kitchen greater than a decade in the past. Smith’s household has deep roots in Chinook, Montana, however that he grew up in Arizona and California. Household pals in Arizona had owned one of many prime 100 wine lounges within the nation, and Smith started working there at age 14, generally going straight from faculty and dealing till 2 a.m. He went from bussing and dishwashing to ultimately serving and dealing in even nicer eating places together with in California’s Napa Valley.  

The connection to Scottibelli’s has provided them a singular scenario for a meals truck. They park daily within the lot behind the restaurant and have some entry to Scottibelli’s for storage and different culinary wants. However on the finish of the day it’s the truck that holds the whole lot collectively. At occasions the constraints of a meals truck might have restricted what the 2 restaurant business veterans can do, however they’re not afraid to maintain experimenting, generally via a steadily rotating solid of every day specials. Taylor and Smith hope that the Atomic Tacos truck is a stepping stone for someday opening up a fast-casual brick-and-mortar restaurant. 

Birria quesadillas from Atomic Tacos. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

On how Atomic Tacos obtained began?

Watson Taylor: We noticed one another daily, so we simply began speaking about meals. We talked about meals on a regular basis. “Oh I noticed this” or “It could be actually cool to make this.” It was a continuing back-and-forth. I believe it was a couple of year-and-a-half in the past we truly determined to do it and begin Atomic Taco.

Jordan Smith: Earlier than we began, we talked to individuals who have meals vehicles and simply went from there.

Watson Taylor: We tried to eat at as many meals vehicles as we might to simply attempt to get a really feel for what persons are doing, and what their days are like. 

On getting folks to strive new meals?

Jordan Smith: I’ve been in managing in wonderful eating, and lots of that’s promoting specials, speaking to folks, getting them to open up and perceive what’s on the menu. I believe that’s enjoyable. It’s sort of gratifying on my finish as a result of I get to clarify issues to people who find themselves like “I don’t know what that is.” As time goes on the entire locals down right here, the entire folks on the banks and companies, they’re attempting new issues. It’s enjoyable. We didn’t wish to be a one-trick pony. It’s not like now we have simply three gadgets.”

On studying to prepare dinner via working in a kitchen

Watson Taylor: It was powerful the primary couple of years. I labored for Scottibellis for years and so they have an previous Italian chef from the Naples space who runs their restaurant in California, Miguel. He would come up within the summertime and I discovered lots. In the event you do issues improper you’re going to get issues thrown at your head. He’s very old skool. 


Learn More →

Leave a Reply