Diablitos Cantina reopens in the Central West End

The fast-casual Mexican joint, Diablitos Cantina, has rejoined the Saint Louis University community as of Wednesday, Sept. 2., at 3919 W. Pine Blvd. in the Central West End. Owners Steve and Kelly Laws, and Laura Mennemeier are excited to bring the restaurant back, this time in its own independent space. 

Formerly located at 3761 Laclede Ave., Diablito’s closed in 2017, then merged into the same building as sister restaurant Sanctuaria at 4198 Manchester Ave. in the Grove in 2018. The combination led to some confusion for customers, so the owners decided to open a new Diablitos brick-and-mortar. 

“There were so many flavors involved,” Steve Laws said. “The two brands were too big for just one spot, so we just split them.” 

The menu combines fan favorites like house-made salsas, fajitas and the street tacos from the original Diablitos with some new items, including El Diablito, a 14-inch, 4-pound hard shell taco.   

“We're putting our own spin on [the menu] and bringing in new items, but then we also have that same sort of flair that people liked,” Kelly Laws said. The salsa bar with six to eight salsas will still be available, though pandemic-compliant in a display case to be handled only by the staff.

Now that Diablitos is independent from Sanctuaria, which now offers Latin American-style tapas, the owners are looking forward to restoring the Mexican facet of their business. They plan to open the cantina side of the restaurant this winter. “Right now, we are priced for college kids,” Mennemeier said. Once the cantina opens, the bar will feature rare tequilas that are pricier than the currently available drinks. “I want to add the high-end experience that people know from Diablitos.” 

With coronavirus regulations as a top priority, Diablitos is offering 28 indoor seats and 52 outdoor seats at 25% capacity and also using contactless payment. “Safety is a huge, important part of what we're doing,” Mennemeier said.

Orders for Diablitos can also be placed via phone at 314.644.4430 for curbside and carryout, and online ordering is soon to come.