Diablo Blue co-owners

Michael Creviston (left) and Paul Wilkes (right) are co-owners of Diablo Blue a new bar and grill opening next week at 631 Broadway Street S. in Menomonie.

Business partners Michael Creviston and Paul Wilkes felt downtown Menomonie was missing something regarding its bar scene.

They wanted to a create a place that is equally a home for locals, as well college students. Creviston and Wilkes, with their years of experience in the entertainment and bars and restaurants industries, have opened Diablo Blue at 631 Broadway Street S., once home to the bar Rehab.

“We wanted to make something that was a multi-purpose venue,” Creviston said, “something that locals could come in and have a burger, watch a football game or baseball game but also something that catered to college students because it’s a college town.”

The bar and grill is scheduled for a soft open Thursday during the Winter Daze parade. Diablo Blue will be open seven days a week beginning at 11 a.m. and will serve food all night long with the main menu closing at 10 p.m..

Thursday, Friday and Saturday will feature a live DJ as the bar transforms into a dance club.

“Obviously that’s worked in this very building in the past but we wanted to make it something a little more... I don’t want to say clean, but safe — a fun place they can go to enjoy themselves,” Creviston said.

Food being available all night is something Wilkes said was an important part of their plan. Once the main menu closes, chicken wings, cheese curds, french fries and pizza bites will still be available.

“They can drink, have a good time and still be safe and have food, too,” Wilkes said.

Diablo Blue will have revolving food options with the menu featuring changes every few months, Creviston said. They wanted to do a spin on some of the things other great eateries in town have.

“Not only is that going to help us, to keep us fresh, but it just gives the community different options,” he said. “It’s basically a new restaurant every four-six months.”

Sticking to the bar-and-grill theme, burgers and chicken wings will be a staple, but for Wilkes providing intriguing other options will set them apart.

Wilkes is looking to have three different macaroni-and-cheese options and three different styles of hot dogs available.

Diablo Blue will be a plus-one kitchen, Wilkes said, with a focus on sauces and special ingredients. There will be rice bowls on the menu topped with greens, sauces and a protein — such as quinoa-crusted shrimp or chicken teriyaki wings.

Wilkes is excited to offer a peanut butter and jelly burger. The burger is topped with peanut butter and fire-roasted Fuji apples — which is similar to fried or baked apples, Wilkes said.

Referencing the Spanish language in its name, the bar will feature some Mexican food options. Cotija cheese will be used on many different products.

“You can’t have a place called diablo and not have a sauce that blows your mouth off,” Wilkes said.

Diablo Blue will have expanded tap beer options with craft and nitro beer selections. Sunday will feature a build-your-own Bloody Mary, Wilkes said, as he looks for the bar to provide drink options that weren’t available at the previous establishment.

In celebrating the university’s mascot, Diablo Blue looks to connect the college students to the community and provide a place that all can enjoy.

“Unfortunately, this building has some stigma to it from the past, so we wanted to come in and show the university and the city of Menomonie that we want this to be something that everyone in town is proud of,” Wilkes said. “What’s more proud than being able to take a college — that’s been here forever and that will be here forever — and kind of pay homage to that.”

Creviston and Wilkes looked into the property beginning in August, applied for a liquor license in September before being approved at the city’s October meeting. Wilkes said his motto for the bar is safe, clean, fun. They want to be a place that city officials aren't worried about, he said.

Menomonie police, University of Wisconsin-Stout police and Dunn County sheriff’s deputies issued a record number of tickets, including 45 underage drinking citations, at Rehab in April 2018. The city voted to not to renew the bar’s Class B beer and liquor licenses a month later.

To show their commitment, Creviston and Wilkes provide a plan for significant renovations and investments into the location.

“We’re not going to revert back to the old ways just to risk losing all of this that we’ve put into this place,” Wilkes said.

In about four weeks, construction crews have completely revamped the interior of the building. Wood paneling lines the walls now for a more open concept. They were looking to open it up but also keep a level of privacy by breaking the bar up into sections. There is a private party portion in the back and then dining areas and spots where friends can gather to watch sports on the TVs above the bar located at the front of the building.

The beer taps were installed on Friday, signage for the outside of the building is scheduled for Monday and table and chairs will be moved in on Tuesday just in time for Thursday’s open.

“At night it’s going to be more catered to the college students, and the locals during the day. But it’s nicer that both of them can frequent, that they can be at, at the same time and co-mingle,” Creviston said, “a community spot if you will.”

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