Diablo’s Southwest Grill is a familiar concept with a few twists
The owners of Diablo’s Southwest Grill think their fast-casual concept is delightfully good. After all, what other reasonably priced, quick serve restaurant will offer items like bison, filet mignon and duck?
“We won’t have it in the beginning, but we will more than likely roll out a specialty item that will rotate monthly,” said co-owner Carl Wallace. “So it may be bison, it may be filet mignon, it may be duck. Duck tacos are really good. Nobody else does that. If you want a prime rib salad in a fast-casual concept, you can forget it.”
Wallace and his co-owners, brothers Brad and Brandon Wall, are set to open Diablo’s in early March, but the idea has been in the works for three years. Wallace and Brad Wall, who also own Augusta Granite Company in Grovetown, say they’ve wanted to branch out into the restaurant business for a long time and, through research, discovered that fast-casual is the best performing restaurant concept.
“We looked at data after data after data and your sit-down restaurants, they’re not performing all that well and, within that segment, the worst performing is the local effort with no big name,” Wallace explained. “So then we looked at fast food, which is performing at a four- or two-percent growth. It’s doing okay; surviving day in and day out. Then you get to this middle segment, this new segment, and it’s the hottest thing, and that’s the fast-casual concept. It’s growing at like and 18 percent. Chipotle has opened 1,400 stores in 10 years and Moe’s has opened 700 stores in 10 years.”
The concept — order on the left, pay on the right — and the food — southwest and Tex-Mex favorites such as burritos and tacos — will be familiar to most customers. The execution of that concept is what the three owners believe will set them apart from the competition. The décor has a personal feel, with one wall covered in reclaimed wood and local artist Brian Stewart adding his unique touch. The kitchen is equipped for some serious cooking, with a dual-stage grill that uses gas heat as well as smoke from apple wood marinated in a pepper bath.
“The apple wood is soaked for 24 hours in a pepper bath,” Wallace said. “So you’ve got the heat from the gas and then you’ve got that smoke coming off. It only impacts the flavor profile 10-15 percent, so we’re not talking an amazing difference, but it’s one of those things that when you taste it, you know.”
The kitchen is laid out for ease of cooking, with space between the servers and cooks so that customers getting the freshest products possible. They don’t even have a freezer.
“We’ll constantly be cooking all day long,” co-owner Brad Wall said. “There’s always going to be meat on the grill.”
And like every other aspect of their new venture, the trio has put a lot of thought into their recipes. They’ll make two salad dressings, a southwest vinaigrette and a chipotle ranch, in house and began putting their salsa recipes through blind taste tests about a year and a half ago, continuing until they got them right.
The concept is designed to give diners who want great-tasting food value for their money while respecting the fact that most don’t have a whole lot of time to eat. It’s something that all three of the owners are well familiar with, since they live in Appling, own a business in Grovetown and are opening Diablo’s across from Doctors Hospital.
“A lot of us who are out on the road every day, we get tired of eating the same fast food,” Brad Wall said. “We don’t mind spending a little bit more money on food, we just don’t necessarily have a lot more time for it.”
At Diablo’s, they can get good food quickly and, as a bonus, can take advantage of the Quickboost phone charging stations at each booth.
It seems the owners of Diablo’s have thought of everything, from what kind of tea they’ll serve to the music they’ll play. They’re hoping their first Diablo’s location will be the beginning of their own franchise, and are betting on the great food, including their upcoming specials, will set them apart from the rest.
“I mean, where else will you be able to get a duck taco? Nobody in fast-casual has true, premium products like that,” Wallace said. “We think it’s cool.” Diablo’s Southwest Grill
11 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week
706-364-2259 | diablossouthwestgrill.com You Might Also Like: