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Bayou Eats | The Blue Taco

By Nathan Coker
In Bayou Eats
May 1st, 2024
0 Comments
1623 Views

article by Starla Gatson
photography by Kelly Moore Clark

Casey Sandridge and his wife, Taylor, invested in a food truck that would lead to a full-time business. The Blue Taco is a family-operated business that sells traditional Mexican fare.

When the coronavirus began its rapid spread across the globe and shut down much of the world in March 2020, many coped with being sent home from their workplaces and schools by spending more time in the kitchen. Cooking and baking became popular ways to pass the time in quarantine, and people everywhere mastered the art of making sourdough bread at home and baking feta pasta. 

Casey Sandridge was one of those who honed their culinary skills during this time. But he wasn’t following social media’s trending recipes. He was making tacos, quesadillas, and nachos, and he planned to sell them.

In 2020, the thought of starting a food truck popped into Sandidge’s head. He had no professional culinary training or any idea of how to start and run a business. However, he had the support of his wife, Taylor, and enough funds to invest in a trailer he could sell his food out of; that was all he needed to run with the idea. Besides, he reasoned, if things went wrong, he always had his full-time oilfield gig to go back to. 

“A lot of people that were working offshore got stuck on the rigs, and a lot of people that were home got stuck there because of travel restrictions,” Sandidge says, recalling the days leading up to his decision to start slinging tacos. “I ended up getting stuck at home.”

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Sandidge spent about six months at home in Caldwell Parish. During that time, his trailer was being transformed into the vessel he needed for his business, and by September, The Blue Taco trailer was finished and ready to open. 

Sandidge was unable to be present for the food truck’s opening day — travel restrictions evolved, and he got the call to head back to the oil rig, leaving Taylor to captain the ship on her own — but he ran it on a part-time basis whenever he was home. The Sandidges ran the business this way for nearly a year until they felt it was time to move to the next level. 

Despite only being open part-time, “[the business] continued to grow,” Sandidge says, “and I was starting to feel like we could make it on that living.” So, in July 2021, Sandidge retired from the oilfield and began pursuing The Blue Taco full-time. The rest, as they say, is history. 

The Blue Taco has been Sandidge’s bread and butter since he decided to run it full-time. You’ve probably seen him and his crew — it consists of his wife, his nephew, and his nephew’s friend — at work, set up in front of a local business during lunchtime. After all, they’re hard to miss. Painted an eye-catching shade of blue and decked out in sugar skulls, The Blue Taco is, in Sandidge’s words, “the brightest-colored trailer around.” 

The Blue Taco’s menu contains traditional Mexican dishes: nachos, quesadillas, and — this is a given considering the business’s name — tacos. Sandidge says customers especially love ordering the 3 Amigos, a combination that includes three tacos of their choice and a drink. But he recommends the quesadilla above all. It’s his favorite menu item, he says, and it’s made with your choice of meat, three different kinds of cheese, and various toppings. 

Some of The Blue Taco’s other menu items include Carnitas tacos made with pulled pork, slaw, avocado, queso fresco, cilantro, and lime crema, and the Chuck Norris taco, a combination of shredded chuck roast, onion, banana pepper, queso fresco, cilantro, and lime crema. Each offering pairs nicely with the food truck’s lineup of sides, which includes Mexican street corn and housemade chips and salsa, queso, or guacamole. 

According to the food truck’s owner, The Blue Taco has come a long way since it first opened in 2020. He credits the business’s growth to two things: repetition and customer feedback.

The repetition of showing up every day and doing what has to be done has made The Blue Taco’s operations smoother and quicker, allowing them to be able to serve more customers. Customer feedback is one of Sandidge’s primary catalysts for making changes to his recipes or business functions. He uses the food truck’s chips and salsa to show customer feedback at work.

“Somebody told me one day, ‘My wife said you can get that same [salsa] at Sam’s,’” Sandidge remembers, laughing. “I was like, ‘Yeah, you can.’ After that, I had to start making my own.”

Ultimately, Sandidge’s goal is to make food that people enjoy, and keeping their opinions in mind helps him do that. This strategy works for him, as several of his customers have told the Grayson native that his are the best tacos around. Comments like those hold weight to Sandidge, and he keeps them in mind as he brainstorms ways to make The Blue Taco even better. 

“Things like that make me want to improve everything I can,” he says of the positive feedback he receives on his food.

Sandidge’s efforts to make The Blue Taco the best it can be appear to be paying off, as the food truck is currently doing so well that thoughts of opening a second are swirling around his head. 

“We go out a little bit everywhere, to LaSalle, Franklin, and Ouachita parishes, but people even farther out are wanting it,” he explains. 

Some customers wonder if settling into a building and operating out of a restaurant instead of a trailer is part of Sandidge’s vision for his growing business. For now, he says the answer is no. He loves the flexibility running a food truck affords him and worries that moving into a building would take away some of the freedom that his current setup allows. 

“People would want it open all the time,” he says of the hypothetical restaurant. 

Operating a food truck with limited business hours ensures Sandidge has time to spend with his family, and he doesn’t want to cut into that. At least, not right now. After all, the ability to build his work schedule around his family obligations is one of two major perks of the job. 

The second is getting to cook for a living. Long before he had any plans of doing it professionally, Sandidge enjoyed cooking. He’s not sure where his passion for it came from, he says before adding, “Whenever I was on my days off from the rig, I was always cooking for friends and family. I just enjoyed [it].”

Running The Blue Taco has proven enjoyable for Sandidge, as it allows him to do something he loves and be home with his family every night — two things oilfield life couldn’t offer. But running a small business isn’t easy, he says, and lots of hard work has gone into getting his food truck where it is today. Despite the difficulties of learning how to build a business, however, Sandidge says there has never been a moment he doubted what he was doing, not even in the beginning when he dared to start something new in such an uncertain time.

“I didn’t ever feel like [it might not be worth it] because it seemed like such a small investment for me,” he explains as he thinks back to 2020 when The Blue Taco was nothing more than an idea. “All I had to come up with was the money for the trailer, and I kept it in my mind that we could always get out of it if we had to. If it didn’t work out, I could sell it and not lose much.” 

He was nervous about pivoting to a new career after spending so many years in another industry — “I was about to have to deal with the public every day, and that’s not something I had always done,” he says. “I’d always been on the drilling rig dealing with a crew, and that’s pretty much it.” — but his anxieties didn’t stop him from diving into this new endeavor. His desires to cook, have more time with his family, and prove the naysayers wrong were more powerful.

“Someone told me, ‘I give it a year, and you won’t be able to do it anymore. You aren’t going to like it,’” he shares. “That’s one thing [that motivated me], proving people wrong.”

And, of course, he adds, his faith played a major role.

“There have been a lot of prayers in it,” Sandidge says. “Don’t want to leave the Lord out. I pray and thank Him for a good day every day.” 

Today, nearly four years later, these elements — loving the work, having time for family, silencing the doubters, and faith in God — still motivate Sandidge to show up to the trailer every day to serve customers. 

“It’s really just repetition every day,” he says, explaining how he does it. “We just get in there and get rolling when the crowd shows up.”