Since 2002, Diego’s Chilean Inspired South American Restaurant has had an eclectic, relaxing atmosphere featuring fresh ingredients, quality dishes, generous portions and friendly, attentive service. As the sign that graces our outdoor patio says, “We do Grace. We do Mistakes. We do Real. We do Sorry. We do Funky. We do Loud. We do Family. We do Love.” It’s more than a sign, it’s our philosophy in running our restaurant and we believe this is why we have so many loyal customers (locally and from all over the world) who we are proud to call our family.
Diego’s recipes are prepared daily in traditional South American style. From our famous (seriously…ask a regular customer about these and watch their eyes light up) complimentary warm, house-made bread rolls and freshly prepared crêpes to our decadent desserts and incredible weekend specials, we consciously choose natural ingredients that are friendly to the environment.
This includes free-range, grass-fed, sustainably-raised proteins and locally grown organic produce. By operating with love, gratitude and a professional, personal touch, we enjoy providing a colorful, comfortable setting where our guests are able to create and share memorable experiences together.
Thank you for your continued support!
With much love,
Diane and June, Owners
In 2002, Mother-Daughter team Diane Robison and June Atkinson decided to open a South American inspired café, featuring mostly traditional sandwiches and a few recipes June had experienced during her travels to Chilé in the late 1990’s. A talented and fearless snowboarder at the time, June tore up the Andres Mountains, bounced around gypsy-style from town to town and fell in love with South America’s unique food culture…and a native Chilean boy from Santiago.
Together, they moved back to Grass Valley in 1998, married and were blessed with a baby boy they named Diego. After working at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant for many years prior to her travels, June learned a lot about how a Latin-style restaurant is operated and began to act on her inspiration to start her own place with her mother, Diane, as her partner. They saw a great advantage in the fact that her Grandma June owned a building just off of Downtown Grass Valley free and clear, so at the end of 2002 Diego’s opened its doors for business.
“Diego’s” was an easy choice for a name since Diane and June’s vision was to combine the uniqueness of South America with Northern California flavors – just like June’s son and Diane’s grandson.
After many years of hard work, long days/nights and much personal sacrifice, they have grown Diego’s into one of the most celebrated restaurants in Grass Valley and the Sierra Foothills. In 2009, they expanded the restaurant dining area to include both a front patio and a dining/banquet room, nearly tripling the available space to accommodate guests.
Diego’s building has been in the Robison family since 1960 when it was Millscraft Television Repair owned by Diane’s father (and June’s grandpa) Bob Robison. Diane’s parents and older brother Danny lived in the house next door to the Diego’s building in the early years of Bob’s business. After he retired, it was converted into King Richard’s Pasties, a well known pastie (similar to our baked empanada) eatery that was open for several years after Bob’s retirement.
When you enter Diego’s, you’ll notice that the old King Richard’s sign is now the backing for seats in the dining room! When Diego’s says that it is into conservation and recycling, they aren’t kidding.
Our Sign & Logo
The mosaic sign that is mounted at the entrance to the patio, has been a significant symbol of the restaurant since the very beginning. A young man named John Salcedo worked as a server during Diego’s opening year and was the one who created our beautiful signature mosaic sign from his experience as a tile worker. Tragically, John passed away in his sleep in 2004, leaving behind an inspiring legacy of kindness, leadership, genuine character…and of course our beloved sign and logo.
Diego’s is enthusiastically active in supporting the local community and donates regularly to local fundraisers and non-profits throughout each year. Diego’s is a proud “Encore Member” of The Grass Valley Center for the Arts and love being in the backyard of the Veterans Hall (which houses all of the biggest shows of the year), making Diego’s a hot spot for concert-goers to dine with us beforehand.
diane & june
Diane’s artistic touch can be seen throughout every corner of the restaurant. From the mosaic accents, to the vintage fan collection, to the silverware chandelier on the patio (see below), to the quotes painted on the walls (see below), the whole building has evolved into her own creative canvas. During Spring and Summer months, her passion for horticulture is seen thriving at the restaurant for Diane is happiest with a pair of overalls on and fresh soil under her fingernails.
June is a former professional snowboarder, and an outdoor enthusiast. She is on the mountain whenever she can in the winter, and is usually found exploring bike trails along the foothill canyons the rest of the year. She has been raising her son Diego who shares his mom’s passion for snowboarding and the outdoors.