Devilicious Eatery owner and longtime Temecula resident Ken Danko knows his business. With two Devilicious food trucks successfully serving SoCal from San Diego to Los Angeles, Ken wanted to build a permanent home for Devilicious Eatery right in his own backyard. Partnering with his father, Bob, the Dankos have built the Devilicious brand from one food truck in San Diego to two food trucks and the brick and mortar restaurant.
On a bright, breezy Temecula mid-week afternoon, Ken paused to share his love of the Devilicious brand, and what it means to be part of Temecula’s growing foodie quarter.
“Old Town Temecula is rapidly becoming the new San Diego Gaslamp district,” Ken dished on the weekend nightlife, as well as the shopping area. “This building became available and I knew we needed to build our permanent home here.”
The three-story brick building, near the southern gateway to Old Town Temecula, is the perfect permanent home, according to Ken. With décor that grabs with its “food truck feel,” and a logo of “Dickey” gracing one entire wall, Devilicious sparks with energy.
Staff greets diners with a smile to seat you indoors or outside on the patio, during mid-week lunch hours. The tap handles boast craft brews from around Southern California, such as Hangar 24, Wiens Brewing Company, and of course, Stone Brewing Company—whose gargoyle logo graces the walls in eerie perfection.
The menu ranges from Bar Bites, to Food Truck Fare, to mouth-watering sandwiches and sides. According to the well-educated staff, popular items such as the Butter Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese, Softshell Crab Club, and Salads and Wraps for those not brave enough to attempt the Pork Belly and Jelly, one of Ken’s personal favorites.
Prices range from $6 for the Truffle Parmesan Fries—shoestring fries, prepared in black truffle oil, and served topped with shaved Parmesan—to $14 for the Devilicious Burger that boasts a half-pound specialty patty, smoked Gouda, crispy bacon, house-made onion jam, green leaf, tomato, Peppadew Honey Aioli served on a brioche bun, and $15 for the Soft Shell Crab Club, well worth the price for this buttery delicacy. Budget conscious? Look for late afternoon happy hour specials.
With recipes that range far and wide, all served up in the traditional Food Truck baskets with paper declaring adjectives to get your mouth watering. Ken discussed his history. A graduate of Temecula Valley High School, Ken received his degree in Economics. His job history ranges from working at a flavor company for a candy manufacturer, to working in manufacturing at Fresh and Easy before buying his first Devilicious food truck.
“I’ve always worked in the food industry in some way,” Ken said. “Now, with the eatery, our bar is rapidly becoming a regular’s hangout in Old Town Temecula.”
Devilicious offers regular Wednesday Pint Nights. The Dankos are working with breweries for tap takeovers with over the next three months, and live music on Friday nights.
“It’s moving at a good, growing pace,” Ken dished on the success of the eatery. “We’re constantly rearranging tables, getting the flow right, and working with breweries to organize tap handle takeovers.”
When you come, take your time, order a drink, and peruse the well-apportioned menu. There is something for everyone, even for your “Lil’ Devils” for those diners age 12 and younger.
Selecting a starter from the broad selection of Bar Bites is harder than it looks. The Chorizo Avocado Egg Rolls won out, with house-made chorizo, avocado, sweet corn, black beans, and pico de gallo served with chipotle buttermilk ranch.
Though a handful of Devilicious recipes are original from the food truck, many are my own, according to Ken.
“I love food, I love experimenting and coming up with new dishes,” Ken said. The kitchen bustled with activity while the knowledgeable wait staff busied around tables, answering questions and making recommendations.
The midweek lunch crowd starts to assemble around 11:30 a.m., and lingers until after 1 p.m. but it all starts up again with happy hour. Restaurant goers can expect regular happy hour specials from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. but don’t expect typical bar food fare.
This trip, we selected lunch from the Food Truck menu, deciding on Pork Belly Melt with Parmesan Truffle Fries and Soft Shell Crab Club. The melt arrived, served with smoked pork belly, crispy Brussels sprouts, Gruyere and Mozzarella cheeses with fig balsamic on butter toasted sourdough was a feast for the eyes. If you’ve never tried pork belly, this is a wide-slab of high-calorie, marbled bacon ripe with flavors. If bacon’s your thing, it’ll be worth the journey. Thin sliced, crispy Brussels sprouts top this sandwich, and the smoky Gruyere and sweetness of fig balsamic deepen the flavor offering of this longstanding Devilicious Food Truck favorite.
As for the Soft Shell Crab Club, this won our table for lunch item to order again.
The tempura battered soft shell crab, served with bacon, green leaf, tomato, and red onion, both Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses mingle with the Sriracha aioli adds just enough zing to linger in memory. Served on butter toasted sourdough bread, from a San Diego bakery, this sandwich has made it to the top of must try’s in Old Town Temecula.
A desserts case, for those with a sweet treat in mind, is packed with brownies and cookies. All under the watchful eye of Devilicious character, “Dickey,” chomping on his signature sandwich, painted by the artist who created him.
“Come, enjoy the food,” Ken said with a smile. “And don’t forget to say hello.”
Devilicious Eatery is located in Old Town Temecula at 28693 Old Town Front St., Suite 104.
Find them on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/DeviliciousEatery.