It's fun to cheer on a local restaurant as it grows, and Dillas owners Kyle and Maggie Gordon are easy to root for. Kyle’s dream in college was to open a restaurant that only served his favorite food. It was a wild idea, but his girlfriend Maggie (now his wife) was along for the ride.
On a drive from Austin to Houston (to Ikea to furnish Kyle’s college rent house), the two planned recipes for all the quesadillas the restaurant would offer. More than a decade later, they're ready to open their fourth Dillas Quesadillas in the area.
Since the first Dillas opened in Plano in 2013, they have partnered with the nonprofit Minnie’s Food Pantry. Customers can add a Minnie’s Meal to any purchase for just 30 cents at any of their locations and Dillas matches the donation, which allows Minnie’s Pantry to provide two meals.
“Our first community volunteer event was at their place [Minnie's Food Pantry],” Kyle says. “We recently did a community day of giving where 15% of sales was donated to Minnie’s.” The total donation for the local stores was almost $3,000.
“Minnie’s is our outward focus,” Kyle says, “but the hidden 70% of our giving is to local communities: high schools, churches, active lifestyle and education, fostering entrepreneurship.”
Requests for donations from the website go directly to the company’s general manager, who decides how they can help and how they can find a "yes."
“We want to be the community restaurant, not just the restaurant in the community,” Kyle says.
Another part of their mission is the commitment to their nearly 120 employees.
“One of the big things that I think is super inspiring is that Kyle spent time at corporate restaurants and came away with the intention to make [Dillas] a special place for employees,” Maggie says.
Kyle was also inspired by a fortune cookie message he came across: “Don’t give up; the beginning is always the hardest.” Kyle gained first-hand experience at that "hardest part" when he opened the first Dillas during a winter storm in 2013. He’s created the Silver Spatula award to give to every employee on completion of their first year. A spatula "trophy case" and the fortune cookie story are displayed in each store.
The company promotes from within when possible and has partnership programs so general managers can get a small bit of ownership. Employees love that they get to interact with the owner of the company on a regular basis and that an atmosphere of fun is part of the job.
Of course, good food is part of the mission too.
While the menu focuses on only one item, there’s really no limit to the ways you can order it.
The Gordo, with ground beef, french fries, bacon and pico de gallo is just one of nine specialty quesadillas. Others include the Plain-O with meat and cheese only and the Lone Star with brisket and barbecue sauce. The Bluebonnet is made with portobello mushrooms. You can also build your own or order one as a salad or on a gluten-free tortilla. There's also a vegan-friendly option made with black bean spread instead of cheese.
A gorilla-style quesadilla is a doubledecker; a mega-size is a pizza-style quesadilla that serves up to six people. Add sides of chips or fries (with or without queso) or citrus corn salad and cilantro lime black beans for a healthier choice.
Your sweet tooth won’t go unsatisfied here either. Dillas has fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and fresh-squeezed limeade. I’ve never had better limeade anywhere, and Kyle generously shared the ingredients list: They use filtered water, cane sugar, limes, of course, but also some lemons so the drink gets a perfect mix of tart and sweet flavor.
Freshness is key throughout the menu. The meat is always fresh (never frozen), tortillas are made locally and brought in daily. Fresh vegetables are prepped daily too. If you needed another reason to support local restaurants, that’s certainly a good one.
The Denton store opens in May at 1715 A Loop 288, No. 100.
Dillas Quesadillas 2008 Midway Road, Plano; 3930 Preston Road, No.140, Frisco; 3510 W. University Drive No. 102, McKinney. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
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