Hot Eats: Diablitos Cantina


Complexity is a tricky thing to master. This is true whether the end product is a taco, a tequila, a new restaurant or an entire vertically integrated business model. In the case of Dr. Gurpreet Padda and Ami Grimes and their newest venture, Diablitos Cantina, it’s all of the above.

Add too much complexity, and the duo risks overwhelming the average customer, who was perhaps lured into the devilishly tasty joint by the huge skull mural and the giant metal T-Rexes outside. With the restaurant’s location near Saint Louis University, customers are likely to be in search of Mexican street food, which is all the better with cheap daily specials on albondigas (meatballs) or tacos. This customer will leave happy. But, so will customers seeking more—those who know the names Padda and Grimes from their other restaurants (Café Ventana and Sanctuaria), their brewery (Cathedral Square), their real estate ventures or their medical company (Padda Institute). The partners’ famous attention to detail shines through at Diablitos Cantina, from the star-shaped tin lanterns on the ceiling to the tables made from repurposed Mexican road signs. The “little devils” theme repeats at many levels, from Day of the Dead skeletons to portraits of conquistadors. More >