For Priscilla Quiles, 34, and her husband Jovan Bonilla, it’s been a big year. After the two got married this winter, they opened their food truck, 4 Brothers Loco Flavor.
The truck is a family-run business that brings authentic Puerto Rican food to campus.
The food truck, which opened in March on 12th Street near Norris, is named in honor of Bonilla and his three siblings. Quiles and her mother Raquel Murillo, 59, run the daily operations. Quiles’ mother, born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, cooks the food while Quiles takes orders at the window.
“You meet different people of all heritages,” Quiles said. “You get to realize how Spanish food correlates to them.”
Though the tastes of 4 Brothers are authentically Puerto Rican, Quiles grew up in Camden, New Jersey, and has lived in Philadelphia for five years.
Quiles brings more than seven years of customer service experience to 4 Brothers from a past job at a bakery supplier working as a bilingual customer service representative and export coordinator in Pennsauken, New Jersey. She is quick to greet students with a smile and a recommendation from the menu.
“I love it,” Quiles said. “I meet so many different people.”
The truck had a two-month test run in the spring before reopening in September. Quiles said she will remodel the whole truck.
Quiles will transform the blank white side facing the College of Engineering building into a mural of the brothers’ photographs. The menu is getting an overhaul as well, with incoming items like “Puerto-Rican style” coffee, which is cooked on the stove.
Some of the new menu ideas came right from student and faculty suggestions, like the future additions of arepas, which are fried dough cakes that can be topped with either savory or sweet toppings.
Pastelillos — meat and cheese wrapped in a thin dough — are also very popular among students like Abeera Tariq, a sophomore health professions major. Tariq visited 4 Brothers for the first time on Oct. 1 after a friend recommended it to her.
Plantains, which are another popular dish at the truck, come in many forms at 4 Brothers, from savory, fried tostones to sweet maduros. Plantain cups filled with meat, though not officially on the menu, can be ordered, too.
“I preferred the savory to the sweet, and the crispy to the soft,” said Natalie Scott, a senior economics major.
An order of tostones or maduros costs $2, and other affordable items fill the truck’s menu. A rice and bean platter with a student’s choice of meat costs $6-8. The truck offers a range of sandwiches in the same price range, like $8 fish sandwiches and $6 chicken sandwiches.
Quiles recommended students try the Cuban, a flavorful combination of ham and pork with swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, and also the “Jibarito” plantain burger, a burger on the new menu made with fried plantains instead of a bun.
To celebrate their heritage, Quiles and her family sold food from the truck at the Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day Parade in 2016 and 2017.
From her jobs before the food truck, Quiles said she learned a lot from different industries. But 4 Brothers is the best fit for her lifestyle.
“The food truck works for me because it gives me time with my family,” she added.