On Saturday, Feb. 11, patrons of Diablitos Cantina were welcomed by a boarded-up door and a brightly typed sign, reminiscent of the inside decor, stating that the restaurant would be closing permanently due to vandalism. The closing of Diablitos Cantina had been announced earlier this month but it was originally scheduled to close on Feb. 14.
Rumors quickly started to surface of broken mirrors and rowdy last hoorahs as the cause for the premature closing. However, the rumors seem to have no basis of fact.
One former employee said, “We were told it was a mirror broken from an event we had hosted the night before, but I had personally cleaned the bathrooms (better than I ever had in honor of the final weekend) and there was no such damage beyond the usual college night wear and tear.” In fact, if one were to ask any former employees about the vandalism that occurred, they would be none the wiser. Another former employee, listed a few damages, such as a paper towel dispenser and a toilet paper dispenser being ripped off the wall, but also noted that those are normal Friday night occurrences. “Aside from that we’re unaware of anything actually happening,” she said.
Since the announcement that Diablitos would be closing, one of the former employees said that business had been soaring.
Employees were receiving more hours and making lucrative paychecks, a nice bonus due to the fact that they would be on the job search soon. Unfortunately, the time to start the search began earlier than any of them expected. “At about 10:00 p.m. he [the executive chef] told us last call was at 11:00 p.m. (earlier than usual),” said one of the old employees, “and after closing for the night he informed us that we would not be reopening again. Within the hour, other employees from the company were in to start moving furniture and close down.” They stated that they had gone home to take a break in between shifts. They were due to come back to help close that night, however at 10:14 p.m. she received a text message from a co-worker telling her that the restaurant was closed permanently.
Many Diablitos employees were scheduled to work until the previously announced closing date, which as of that fateful Friday night, was still three days away. “I was scheduled the next three days. They took quite a few hours from me.” the employee shared, “Personally I was pissed off at the way it was handled, it came out of left field and the way they expected us to help with the shutting down after was irritating.”
The unexpected and informal closing left some employees wondering what went wrong, “Since I personally did not see the vandalism that was claimed as the reason for early closure, and since sales were so lucrative that closing early didn’t make sense to me, I find something very fishy about the situation,” one commented. Their feelings are mutual with their co-worker’s, “ It definitely seemed shady.”
The closing also left employees feeling as if they were being abandoned. “All the employees had truly become my family and it’s sad to know we won’t see each other every day anymore,” an employee said.
Both the employees of Diablitos Cantina and its customers have many unanswered questions. As another campus staple closes its doors, many are finding it hard to say goodbye. Employees attest to that as one stated, “The employees are as confused as everyone in the community and just as sad we never got to say goodbye to the queso and the place we called home.”