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Bloomington Food Truck Coming To A Neighborhood Near You

LaPatrona food truck parked at the curb
Charlie Schlenker
The LaPatrona food truck has been showing up in neighborhoods all over Bloomington-Normal this month.

A food truck in Bloomington has started making house calls during the pandemic.

Karen Flores owns LaPatrona with her father Raymundo, and sister Mildreth.

Flores said someone in Normal asked them to set up in their neighborhood for a Cinco de Mayo party to serve their Mexican fare for dozens. Now, they are getting similar requests throughout Bloomington-Normal every day.

“Now having so many people that recognize us, that follow us, it’s incredible,” Flores explained. “We are really blessed and we are really happy, especially my dad. He’s very proud and we are all very proud.”

LaPatrona is Spanish for "lady boss." Flores said her father came up with the name to honor his daughters who are helping to run the business. She said her father, who has had a career in the restaurant industry since moving the family from Mexico City 20 years ago, always had a dream of opening his own restaurant.

Flores said the truck sets up wherever they get requests and typically serve dozens of families every night. She said that sometimes is a challenge for the family of five to pull off.

“We do get overwhelmed sometimes,” she conceded. “We fight (for space) a little while we are cooking and everything, but I guess it’s part of working in the food industry.”

Flores said they are able to serve food safely. The five employees are all family and only one person handles the money.

She said the food truck has been in business for a little over a year, but shut down when the state started closing restaurants. Flores said even though the food truck could have stayed open because it doesn’t offer dine-in service, they decided it would be best to wait it out in the short term, partly because they weren't clear how the stay-at-home orders applied to food trucks and because they want to protect the health of her mother who suffers from asthma, a condition that could be aggravated by COVID-19.

“We kind of got freaked out a little bit," Flores said. "We didn’t want her to focus on the food truck right now because she can get more sick than us.”

Flores said LaPatrona also has helped with the recent Feed BloNo Kids effort during the pandemic. LaPatrona has donated more than 100 plates of food.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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