It’s been nearly a year since Dean Vilone slapped up some cheery “Hello Market Street” signage in the windows of a former Qdoba in downtown Wilmington announcing that his newest El Diablo Burritos would be coming soon.
Eleven months later, his fifth casual gourmet eatery has finally opened, to the delight of downtown workers and residents who are already fans of his tasty burritos available at other locations including El Diablo’s flagship Trolley Square store.
The Market Street location officially opened on Tuesday.
“We work at The Queen down the street, and we have been anxiously awaiting the opening of El Diablo for months and months and months and we’re super excited about it,” said a satisfied Allison Weir who noshed over lunch on her regular go-to menu item – Fish tacos.
We still don’t have our front door
El Diablo Burritos co-owner Shannon Stevens said there were a lot of ‘mitigating factors’ which held up the opening. Their goal was to open last spring.
Vilone and Stevens originally hoped the space wouldn’t need many structural modifications. “The overall layout worked, but we couldn’t use what Qdoba had. We had to engineer the restaurant to work for us. Unfortunately, every aspect of the build out took forever. Everything was compounding and arduous,” said Stevens. “We still don’t have our front door.” (They’re waiting on a version which matches the second door in the vestibule, which also gave them construction headaches.)
As the days get shorter, it will be pretty easy to spot their location at 837 Market Street. El Diablo is the first restaurant with to open with neon signage on the popular street under new guidelines established by the Wilmington Design Review and Preservation Commission.
Inside the 2,000 square foot restaurant looks pretty much like the others – with the bright white “Burritos from Scratch” wall, floating ceiling, brightly-colored mosaic tile and pleather seating.
We’re tailoring things specifically for breakfast
But information on the chalkboard reveals a new first for El Diablo — a full breakfast from 7:00 to 10:30 am each day. The chalkboards flip around to show the breakfast and all-day menus. Breakfast is served only on weekdays.
At some other locations, El Diablo has offered simple morning options — breakfast quesadillas and eggs over tacos or burritos.
But at the new location, the have come up with breakfast-only menu items including yogurt parfaits, coffee, and two types of handmade ‘morning buns.’ The Mexican pastry version has cinnamon and sugar on top, and the other comes with goat cheese and a sweet red pepper jam.
They are also offering a choice of eggs — plain or with sautéed vegetables — in the breakfast tacos, burritos and quesadillas. “They are kind of like a mini quiche in their form factor,” said Stevens.
Of course, the core menu continues to offer taco and bowl favorites like braised short rib, marinated mushrooms and Adobo grilled chicken, but the downtown Diablo will also be offering chorizo sausage and bacon for the first time.
“The fish tacos are my absolute favorite,” said Weir on her first visit to the Market Street eatery. “All the food is so good and fresh, and I think it’s priced right. And I don’t think there’s better food for a quick meal in the area,” she said.
Weir’s colleague and friend Maureen Yaconis recently moved here from New Jersey and said she was impressed the local business with several locations was so good. “I was really excited because the first one Allison took me to was off of Marsh Road (in Branmar Plaza in north Wilmington), and that was close to where I live. But when we found out this one was opening just a couple of blocks from where we work, I said — ‘Oh great, now I’m going to put on all the weight that I’ve just lost!”
Yaconis said she likes to experiment every time she hits an El Diablo. “I tried a bowl today with the citrus pulled pork. The pork was so tender, very flavorful. I have yet to try anything I haven’t liked.”
Bienvenidos y Ole!