EL DIABLO BURRITO
The guys behind Diablo Burrito are no strangers to Market. Their collective resume reads like a requiem for restaurants passed: Dean Vilone owned The National. Chef Roger Andrews cut his teeth at 821 (among other places). Shannon Stevens put in his time working nearby at the Shipley Grill in his youth.
But it was in Trolley Square where they found their calling, and their small burrito place that put goat cheese on braised short rib and pickled peppers on lime grilled steak grew slowly but surely into a burrito empire, going to Newark, and Pike Creek, and North Wilmington. Eventually, the powers-that-be on Market would ask them to return. And they would say … no. Been there. Done that. But then, as Shannon tells the tale, they sat back and really looked at what was happening downtown…
“We had been offered this spot a few years ago, and we said no. Bardea wasn't there, Stitch House wasn't there. And we were looking at other options.”
“And the opportunity came up again, and it felt like the right time. We did a lot of drive-bys, sitting there and watching people to see if there were enough people around … and Market felt like it was alive. You see a certain type of person walking down the street, walking their dog, and you can tell that they live here. They’re not passing through, or on vacation. We were pretty in tune with Market Street's history and we could see it had a bounce in its step, a real energy and focus. Friends that lived out of town were thinking about coming in and having dinner and asking ‘Did you hear about this?’ or ‘Did you hear about that?’ And we thought that that could serve a need.”
The social media scene on Market exploded when signs in the window announced the coming of Diablo Burrito, and anticipation started to mount.
“When we opened in Newark, it was a madhouse for three months. We had a doorman, we had a bouncer, we had a line out the door, down the street and around the corner from 11 in the morning until 10 at night. I mean, it was nuts.”
“We didn't want to be crushed on Market.”
Sorry, Shannon. They filled to capacity on opening day – we couldn’t even get past the line at the door either. And among the things that got people excited is that this Diablo Burrito offers breakfast … though it’s not the first time they’ve tried that.
“There's a lot of things that we try and don't ever come to fruition, behind the scenes. We actually did breakfast up at Branmar, but it was only on the weekends and it wasn't this type of menu.”
“Now, it’s not just eggs in a taco, though we do that. Some of the eggs have roasted poblanos in them, so you can either get plain or with veggies. We also have homemade sage chicken sausage. And hash bowls.”
“We have grab and go items, a chia seed dulce parfait and a Greek yogurt parfait, both with homemade granola. And our morning buns too. Those are easy to come in, get some coffee and go.”
How do you feel about how El Diablo, over the past 10 years, becoming a beloved Delaware institution?
“It kind of feels unreal. But one of the things that we just keep going back to is, you know, just, ‘Thank you.’ We are only here because of our customers.”
“We've had some serious brand champions and we're very, very humbled by that and thankful for everyone who has been out there. But everyday, we say, we're not a success yet. We don't take it for granted. We don't ever pat ourselves on the back. We let you decide if we're good or not.”
Everyone has their favorite order. What’s yours?
“It is a pork quesadilla with cheddar, kalamata olives, spicy pico, cilantro, and then a side of chipotle ranch to dip. The salt in the olives, the tomatoes and the cheese, they just complement the pork so well.”