Pilo’s Purpose

Beyond its colorful interiors and exteriors, vibrant entertainment lineup and authentic Mexican cuisine, Pilo’s aims to be the largest employer of individuals with special abilities.
Words by Sandy Lindsey | November 28, 2021 | People

Restaurateur Derek Gonzalez has paid homage to the taquerias he used to visit when he was a kid in Mexico City through his iconic Pilo’s restaurants, named in honor of his beloved late Aunt Pilo, who had down syndrome. While she didn’t live to see the concept come to life, her legacy lives on through the company’s employment of people with intellectual and developmental special abilities, comprised of 20% of its workforce. They aim to empower every employee to achieve their dreams, increase their independence and provide companionship. They also are avid supporters of Best Buddies, Gigi’s Playhouse and Our Pride Academy, among many other causes. In 2017, Gonzalez opened his first location, Pilo’s Street Tacos, an instantly successful quick-service restaurant in the heart of Brickell, followed by Pilo’s Tequila Garden in Wynwood (complete with a retractable roof, VIP suites, epic stadium seating and a state-of-the-art DJ booth!), and most recently a pop-up dubbed Pilo’s Beach Club in Southampton. With an eye always toward the sky, the brand plans to continue expanding beyond South Florida in the near future;