Breaking News

UPDATE: North Paulding High starts week online after COVID cases

X

First Look: Supremo Taco summons a taste of So Cal on Memorial Drive

A selection of dishes at Supremo. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
A selection of dishes at Supremo. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

In October, chefs Nhan Le and Duane Kulers (8Arm, Lusca, Octopus Bar) and partner Omar Ferrer opened Supremo Taco on Memorial Drive at the edges of Cabbagetown and Grant Park.

Conceived as a tribute to the rambling food trucks and stationary loncheras of Los Angeles and greater Southern California, the concise grab-and-go menu features eight different tacos assembled with house-made tortillas, including al pastor, mole poblano with chicken, and black bean with squash.

In addition, there are “extras” such as the choriqueso, chorizo and queso sandwiched between corn tortillas and fried to a crispy crunch, and delicate churros dusted in cinnamon and sugar. Daily specials include the likes of tostadas, soups and fruit-flavored agua frescas. And horchata, Topo Chico, Jarritos and Mexican Coke are on offer, too.

Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Situated across the parking lot from Grindhouse Killer Burgers, the free-standing brick building that houses Supremo captures the spirit of las loncheras — though what was once a graffiti magnet has been transformed into a lively destination with a walk-up order window.

White textured walls, metal awnings, ceramic tiles, and a small wood deck with matching rails and tabletops for stand-up dining give the facade a rustic feel, while a circular neon sign flashes the Supremo logo, and planters filled with ornamental agave add artful touches.

One recent afternoon, Ferrer and Kulers stood out on the deck to talk about the concept, and show off some of the food and drink.

Supremo Taco's Duane Kulers (left) and Omar Ferrer. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Supremo Taco's Duane Kulers (left) and Omar Ferrer. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

“We’ve all been really great friends and worked closely together for years,” Ferrer said. “I also do music production, and when I was working for an agency out in L.A., I had to do a lot of back and forth. So when I would go, Duane, who is from California, would sometimes come, too, and it was all about the taco trucks.

“When Grindhouse opened up, and this building became available, it was a no-brainer. It was the perfect shape and size, so it’s basically like a brick-and-mortar taco truck, which was exactly what we wanted. No dining inside. No waitstaff. No pretense. It was red brick. And it was tagged-up.”

Talking about the build-out, Ferrer said the idea was to keep it simple.

“We didn’t want to do anything too clean and modern, and we wanted to somewhat stay true to what it was,” he said. “Instead of paint, we just did mortar in a thin layer and blasted it with a pressure washer to give it a weathered look. George Long, who is a partner over at Paris on Ponce, fabricated the awnings and did all the metalwork. It’s crazy to say, but it kind of came out exactly how we envisioned it.”

The neon logo sign at Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
The neon logo sign at Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Though Supremo has been busy since opening day, Kulers said not everyone understands the concept, yet.

“It’s a little confusing to some people who have never really done this style of dining,” he said. “But to anybody who’s from California, it’s second nature to them. We wanted it to be something that would be quick, and grab-and-go. Mostly, I missed the tacos I used to eat back home in California. The menu ties into my entire morals and ethics compass. To keep things simple and focused with a limited number of things, but make them all perfect, always.

“Consistency is everything. I wanted all the tacos to be composed, like any plate of food, but the plate is the tortilla. Every taco has a little bit of beans, and they’re all dressed exactly the way we want them. That helps with consistency. Also, a big part of it is the tortillas. They’re made fresh every day, with blue, white and yellow GMO-free organic masa that we source through California. That’s what sets everything apart. Just like a sandwich with the bread, and sushi with the rice, it’s no different with the taco and the tortilla.”

With all that everyday consistency, Kulers said specials are an essential part of the menu, too, giving regulars and the kitchen staff something to look forward to.

“Specials are a big thing, for sure,” he said. “It helps us stay creative, considering we have a set menu. During the wintertime, we’ll be running soups, and during the summertime, we’ll be doing oysters and ceviches, which I’m really excited about.”

701 B Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta. 404-965-1446, supremotaco.com.

Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Supremo Taco on Memorial Drive

Three tacos from Supremo, clockwise from top: Al Pastor, Black Bean and Mole Poblano. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Three tacos from Supremo, clockwise from top: Al Pastor, Black Bean and Mole Poblano. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

The Choriqueso at Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
The Choriqueso at Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Sopa de chivo, a soup made with goat, garbanzo beans, onion, cilantro and lime at Supremo. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Sopa de chivo, a soup made with goat, garbanzo beans, onion, cilantro and lime at Supremo. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Churros at Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Churros at Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Agua fresca at Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Agua fresca at Supremo Taco. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

RELATED:

Explore More first look at metro Atlanta restaurants
ExploreNew metro Atlanta restaurants
ExploreIntown Atlanta dining news

Read the AJC Fall Dining Guide: The Noodle Edition

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.

About the Author