Baptism by Fire: Menomonie bar and dance floor opens with a bang
Tori Johnson, photos by Andrea Paulseth |
A scheduled quiet opening on Dec. 12 turned out to be the exact opposite for Diablo Blue, a new bar and grill in Menomonie. Unexpectedly, the establishment served 300 patrons that night, a “baptism by fire” according to co-owners Paul Wilkes and Michael Creviston.
After Rehab, the bar and dance hall that formerly occupied the building Diablo Blue now resides in, closed its doors, Paul and Michael wondered what would happen to that empty building. They asked local government officials what they wanted for the location (631 Broadway St S), and were told that hopefully the new owners would promote safe drinking for college students yet also be an establishment for all members of the community, mentioning the prospect of serving food.
Paul had been an employee of King Pin for years, and knows the food industry intimately. After conversations with the mayor, local police and city administrators such as Mike Golat from Altoona, Paul and Mike submitted their first business plan to the city in September, and were accepted early October. They expected to do some light remodeling, but the 100-year-old building had other plans for Paul and Michael. They quickly discovered what was needed included new electrical work, walls and an HVAC system, among many more updates. The remodel was set to be complete in less than four weeks, and Kustom Construction accomplished this by putting in 18-hour days leading up to the opening.
Diablo Blue is a place for all members of the community, not just college students, and it offers a menu unlike any other in the area.
“We don’t want to take over what other restaurants are doing in Menomonie,” Paul said. They would rather offer new flavors showcased in dishes such as the Cilantro Lime-Crusted Shrimp Bowl.
Paul is a resident of Eau Claire, and Michel resides in Hallie, however they remain dedicated to Menomonie and intend to be highly involved in the community. Fundraising ideas are on the table including raising money for local K9 police units and organizations such as Stepping Stones. On the serving side they are starting to make connections with hopes of sourcing local meat and beer from places like Cut Rite Meat Shoppe and Lucette Brewing
Diablo Blue is a two-in-one deal: restaurant by day and dance floor at night. During the weekdays, around 9-10pm tables will be moved off of the dance floor for those looking to boogie off their dinner. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday there will be a live DJ, and down the road there is potential for live music.
For more information about the venue’s menu, events, and hours, find them on Facebook @DiabloMenomonie.