El Diablo is one of the newest restaurants in Kingsville and my word have they made a SPLASH serving tacos and small plates.... okay maybe a Margarita, too, you know... just to set the tone right!
Here is what husband and wife owners, Bridgette (Chef) and John Michael Perciballi had to say:
Tell us about your business and why you decided to open.
El Diablo was a concept dreamt up by my husband and me several years ago. We wanted to bring upscale food and flavours- which was more of my culinary background prior, but serve it up in a hip edgy environment through approachable menu items. I grew a strong connection and love affair for Mexican and Asian cuisine and with modern taquerias on the rise, we knew we wanted to tap into that market here where it hasn’t been done yet, but really put our signature on it.
Why I opened? I started my career extremely timid and not creatively confident at all. To be honest I only first pursued cooking because I had no idea what I wanted to do and it always just came naturally to me. I worked in a couple kitchens just doing daily tasks...mindless work..and then I moved onto my next job that I actually ended up staying at for 10 years. Here I was given a chance to show creativity and actually put my stamp on the menus...overwhelming at first but ended up being the ultimate motivator to push me into opening my own restaurant. The adrenaline rush to see people love what you cook..there’s nothing like it. I started to crave more and more- more creative input, more knowledge of the business, more responsibility. I tapped out at the highest i felt I could go, and knew the next step was to do it for myself with our concept we kept in the back of our minds.
What business was like before COVID-19?
So much different! We’re still fairly new to the game, only open for 8 months now. We managed to catch the end of summer last year with our grand opening late July. What a crazy few months. This town has been so receptive and welcoming to us it’s actually overwhelming. We’ve already gained so many regular customers we’ve grown to adore, and so many relationships with other local businesses. I miss being jammed on a Saturday night, peering out into the dining room and seeing all the smiling faces, and chatter as people enjoy each others company while eating my food.
What has business been like since the outbreak of COVID-19?
Sad. We’ve had to lay off employees in order to manage costs. Minimize food orders so things aren’t spoiling and bills are manageable. The first week was hard. I remember a Thursday all day we only made $120. That’s really scary, especially being a new small business. Only offering takeout seemed impossible to me to be able to stay open..but this town, let me tell you..this town is amazing. The support for local businesses is so amazing. Business has picked up and we are starting to get a grip on our new way of operating. I refuse to let this virus ruin everything I’ve worked so hard for, so instead we are pushing through it. With the help of our neighbors and social media I believe we are all going to get through this together
How will this impact your business long term?
It’s definitely slowing down our growth. I’ve had so many ideas and plans that have all come to a hault. Right now we are just focusing on getting through these hard times.
How can people help?
Honestly listening to the government guidelines and social distancing. It’s the only way to speed this process along. As well supporting their local businesses as much as they can.
In addition, El Diablo is currently open Tuesday through Saturday 4pm until 8pm for takeout and delivery. You can call us at 519-712-9606 to place your orders (debit or credit only). We are active on Facebook and Instagram under @eldiablokingsville. Here you can keep tabs on our daily and weekly features!
Don't forget to check out their website, too!