We’re going on a taco tour of Tyler!

Vancouver Bites/Flickr

Update: We’re thrilled to announce that we reached our funding goal for this project in just two days! A huge thank you to everyone who pitched in — we can’t wait to deliver a fantastic guide to the best tacos in Tyler. We also got a flood of interest in joining our tour; y’all really like tacos, huh? The panel is now closed, and please stay tuned for the fruits — er, carnitas? — of our labor!

The Tyler Loop is putting together a guide to the best tacos in town. We’re looking for a few discerning palates interested in joining us to check out local mom-and-pop taquerias, food trucks, big Tex-Mex chains, and anywhere else tacos can be found in and around Tyler. (And yes, we will be including Taco Bell.)

Of course, not everyone has the same tastes when it comes to tacos. Some like it hot. Some not. Some think onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime are the only acceptable adornments. Others need to see lettuce, tomato, and shredded orange cheese.

That’s why we’re hoping to create a small panel of fairly diverse tastes — and budgets and ages, too. We’ll meet once or twice a month, on evenings or weekends, and The Tyler Loop is picking up the check.

Which brings me to another request. We’re a volunteer-run site, and we’re inviting our readers to help pick up the tab over at GoFundMe. Your donation will go toward meals reviewed by our esteemed panel of local taco lovers. Donations of $5 to $10 (a three taco plate, drink, tax, tip) would rock our world!

Want to join our panel? Send a 1-2 line email to hello@thetylerloop.com about your taco tastes (spicy? Tex-Mex or nah?), your age and where you live, how much you’d typically like to spend on a taco plate, and the reason you think you’re a perfect fit for the Tyler Loop’s taco tour. (Please note: the panel is now closed; see update above.)

We won’t be able to bring everyone on board, but this isn’t the last crazy crowdsourced project we’ve got in the works. We’ll try to rope you into something else soon enough!

Thanks for reading this story. Just one more thing. If you believe in the power of local journalism here in Tyler, I'm hoping that you'll help us take The Loop to the next level.

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Tasneem Raja is the Executive Editor of The Tyler Loop, a nonprofit journalism startup that explores policy, history, and demographics in Tyler, Texas. She is an award-winning journalist who has reported for NPR, The New Yorker, the Atlantic, Mother Jones, and other national outlets. A former senior editor at NPR, she launched a popular podcast exploring issues of identity and race with NPR's Code Switch team. At Mother Jones, she specialized in data visualization and led a team that built the first-ever database of mass shootings in America. She's a pioneer in the field of data-driven digital storytelling, a frequent speaker on issues of digital journalism, and a die-hard fan of alt weeklies, where she got her start as a local reporter. She lives in Tyler with her husband, her stepson, and two imperious terriers.