Smile Politely

Piato to Go Food Truck is good every time

I love going to the Piato To Go food truck. So much so, I visited twice for this article. I stopped by their food truck on a Friday for lunch, then visited again Saturday morning at the Market at the Square in Urbana for breakfast.

The truck is there every Saturday from 7 a.m. until noon. You can get lunch items starting at 10 a.m. and breakfast is served before then. The reason I love this place is that I know I’m going to get excellent creative food served fresh with local ingredients. They are always friendly and remarkably consistent with their quality. 

A red food truck with a chicken on the side giving a peace sign is for the Piato To Go Food Nanny. Top image by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

I think naming menu items is vastly underrated, and I appreciate when an owner takes the time to be creative. My logic is that if they take this much care in coming up with a fun and unique name, they take great care in their ingredients and preparation. I find myself ordering certain items based solely on their name. This leads us to the first two Piato truck entrees: Finding Nemo and The Dancing Pig.

In a tin-foiled to go container, there are three fish tacos with crispy fried fish in flour tortillas with a cup of coleslaw. Top image by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

Finding Nemo ($7) came with two cod fish tacos with lettuce, pineapple salsa, and sriracha mayo. As soon as I opened the to go box, I knew this was going to be great. The presentation was amazing with each taco having a large deep fried cod fillet nestled in a flat top grilled tortilla with sriracha mayo drizzled over the top. I don’t think I have ever had this much fish in a fish taco. In fact, my wife said, “Wow, that looks amazing!” about five times before I got the hint that she wanted a bite or two (she took three; I counted).

The fish would be amazing on its own, but it really elevated this taco. It had a nice crunchy exterior, perfectly cooked and flaky inside. The sriracha mayo was not too spicy, and the pineapple added the perfect freshness, sweetness, and balance that made this fish taco excellent.

As a side with my tacos, I ordered the cilantro and red pepper coleslaw ($3). I’m a coleslaw junkie. I love experimenting and making different versions at home, and I’ll always order it when its on a menu. This coleslaw was outstanding: fresh, tangy, and sweet. The cilantro added so much flavor and uniqueness to this dish. The peppers were crisp and sweet, and they really worked with the cabbage and dressing.

The Dancing Pig ($8) was pulled pork with bacon, cheddar and cherry chipotle BBQ on toasted sourdough bread. The sourdough bread was fabulous. It was as thick as Texas toast and grilled on the flat top to a perfectly crispy outside yet soft center. The pulled pork and bacon were tender and tasty, and the cherry chipotle sauce offered a great contrast to the savory meat. The entire sandwich was well thought out, and all the ingredients complemented each other. If you are a pork and bacon fan, this is a must try.

In a styrofoam container, there is a large salad with chicken, cheese, and fruit. Top image by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

My wife had the pear apple salad ($8) which made me feel a tad bit of guilt for ordering deep fried fish tacos — until she couldn’t resist and had three bites of my taco, so we are all square. This salad was made of mixed greens, chicken, walnuts, cranberries, bleu cheese, maple dressing, and (spoiler alert!) pears and apples. This was a wonderful and generous salad. Like the Dancing Pig, every ingredient was necessary and provided balance and cohesiveness. The chicken was nice and tender. The walnuts added a great crunch. The apple and pear added a sweetness that balanced the tartness of the cranberries.

My wife and I agree the star of this dish was the maple dressing. It had a wonderful maple syrup type of flavor without being overly sweet. It provided a great contrast to the bleu cheese.

At the Urbana Market, there is a line of people waiting to order at the brown Piato To Go truck. Top image by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

For breakfast at Urbana’s Market at The Square, we ordered the Chihuahua ($8) and a house cinnamon roll ($3).

In a white styrofoam container, there is a fried egg on top of sweet potato hash. Top image by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

The Chihuahua had smoked paprika potatoes topped with corn and black bean salsa, Moore’s Family Farm fried egg, and pepper jack cheese. The smoked paprika potatoes had a nice smoky flavor without overpowering the dish. The potatoes had a nice crust on the outside and were fluffy on the inside. The corn and black bean salsa really make this dish a hit. You can tell it is made fresh and that provided a nice texture with the eggs and potatoes. This dish had the perfect amount of heat as I finished it. It was filling — and a real value for $8.

In a clear plastic container, there is a large cinnamon roll with a crackly glaze. Top image by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

The cinnamon roll was also a great deal at $3. It was big enough to be my entire meal and give me the energy to buy all that produce at the market. It provided a nice, sweet contrast after eating the Chihuahua (that just sounds wrong). If you need a sweet treat at the Market on The Square, find The Piato to Go Food Truck and get yourself a scrumptious cinnamon roll.

Piato To Go Food Truck
Market at the Square
Sa 7 a.m. to noon 

Check Piato’s Facebook page for other times and locations.

Top image by Carl Busch.

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