Residents of Bloomington are all familiar with the big white food truck that is constantly parked off of South Walnut Street. What they might not realize is that Pili's Party Taco is a family owned truck with a corresponding store located behind it. While the truck has been around for three years, the store is fairly recent, selling cultural ingredients and snacks as well as taking orders and providing customers with a restaurant-like environment to sit and eat their food. 

Molly Sawyer

Owner, Maria "Pili" Del Pilar Gonzalez, has lived in Bloomington for 17 years and cooks everything from scratch with the recipes she brought to Indiana from Mexico. She works alongside her husband and two daughters, and they have hired a few other young employees. 

Molly Sawyer

From Inside the Truck

"While the tostadas and tacos are good, we recently started selling a special taco called Birria about two or three weeks ago that has become very popular. It is a tortilla soaked in broth and then covered in cheese with whatever toppings you want", says owner, Pili. 

Pili's has a wide variety of menu options including vegetarian choices for any item. The menu is also customizable, allowing for substitution of meats, veggies, and shells. The kitchen offers sides such as white or red rice, fried beans, cauliflower with jalapenos in vinegar, cumble beans, and chips with salsa and cheese. All ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. 

To Inside the Store

The cultural products sold inside Pili's are imported from a supplier in Indianapolis with the intent to provide customers with an authentic Mexican experience, as well as encouraging them to try to cook at home. Customers can order in the store and browse the variety of goods for sale while waiting for their food to be made in the truck. After their food is ready, it is brought to them inside the store for dine in or take out.  

Molly Sawyer

Traveling Truck 

Although Pili's Party Truck is often parked, the food truck can be booked for special gatherings such as weddings, festivals, street fairs, or birthday parties. It most frequently travels to the local Bloomingfoods Community Farmer's Market. But it is also known to have gone out of state to places like Chicago for food festivals. Customers can call for any inquiries in regards to events or catering. The business has held events such as the consecutive Pili's Party Taco Eating Contest, which many IU Bloomington students participated in, as well as holiday specials. Most recently, Pili's added a brunch selection to their menu which features Chilaquiiles and Arroz con Leché (rice milk) on Mondays and Saturdays, Pan Dulce Mexicano (Mexican sweet bread) on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Tamales with chocolate and pecans on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. While the store is open from 11 am-10 pm, the truck is open from 11 am-1 am and on weekends, until 2-3 am. 

Molly Sawyer

Although the COVID-19 Pandemic has affected many small businesses, Pili's has adapted to a new "normal". The truck has an option to call the store to place an order for non contact delivery. Additionally, all Pili's employees practice frequent sanitation procedures and allow for social distancing inside the store.

Pili's has become a favorite for students, workers, and families around Indiana University Bloomington's campus. The rich flavors of fresh vegetables and crunchy tortilla combine together to create an authentic Mexican experience like no other.