By Holly Renner
As an artist swiftly moves her paintbrush along the rugged edges of the blank truck, she begins to see the Waco Tribune-Herald come to life and the small cup fill with coffee — only to be emptied again.
The drawings on the sketchbook appear, and the book “East of Eden” gazes back at her.
Taco truck artist Erin Dobbins saw her mural come alive as Waco coffee shop Common Grounds officially introduced their latest addition: breakfast burritos and tacos.
For the past 18 years, Common Grounds has provided flavored coffee that is different from other coffee vendors in the surrounding area.
In addition, other items such as bagels, muffins and cake pops — to name a few — are offered. But Blake Batson, Waco native and owner of Common Grounds, was searching other avenues for his business.
“We’ve never been able to do a good food offering,” Batson said. “I’ve always been looking for a permanent food offering here — locally made.”
Owner of Crucero, Jesus Betancourt, opened his restaurant 10 years ago and has seen great success since.
He said business started out slow but increased significantly over time, and it is now a top-rated Waco restaurant.
“I treat everyone like my family,” Betancourt said. “I have met so many people. There’s no way to describe it.”
Betancourt said his partnership with Common Grounds started with Batson and his friends, who were loyal Crucero customers.
“We’ve always loved Crucero,” Batson said. “His product is incredible.”
Batson and house manager Holden Whatley decided to place daily orders for breakfast tacos from Crucero to sell them at the Common Grounds bar.
Shortly after, Betancourt told Batson he had a trailer with a fully functional, health-certified kitchen, where they could sell Crucero tacos and burritos outside of Common Grounds.
After discussing a partnership for almost three months, Batson and Betancourt decided to open shop.
The taco truck has been up and running for almost four weeks, selling some of Crucero’s most popular items.
“There’s no better way to start your day than with Common Grounds coffee and Crucero,” Batson said.
“In terms of product, location and price, it’s a no-brainer. We want to give people something they have to have — and they have to have burritos,” Baton said.
Batson plans to expand the options to the full-sized Crucero menu, where operating hours will continue throughout the day.
The current operating hours are from 7 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m Monday through Sunday.
On concert nights, the truck will operate until 11 p.m. Batson recently changed the original 7 to 11 p.m. hours due to lack of customers.
Batson said gaining a higher demand will take time, but can be achieved through word-of-mouth and social media.
“There is some hesitancy because everyone knows us as a coffee place,” Batson said. “People think, ‘What are you doing selling tacos?’ It’s a totally new business.”
However, there are no reservations for Dallas native Sean Caho, who said he has tried every taco stand in Waco.
“They’re fantastic — the best burritos in town,” Caho said. “I come up here even when they’re not open, and find to much dismay there aren’t any burritos available.”
Betancourt said he plans to bring in gluten-free and vegetarian options once the demand has increased.
So far, the taco truck offers breakfast burritos and tacos with available ingredients, such as potatoes, eggs, cheese, steak, chicken, bacon, ham, sausage, avocado, beans, and their famous red and green sauce.
“Me being with Common Grounds, my expectations are high,” Betancourt said. “We’re just getting started.”