When Jeff Iovino recently opened his third restaurant within the same busy block in Mt. Lebanon, regulars wondered if he was building a secret tunnel underneath so he could keep tabs on all three eateries.
“If it was secret, then I wouldn’t be able to tell you about it,” says Iovino, smiling.
Jeff describes the new, small space as a taco stand that “feels like a taco truck without the wheels.”
It’s easy to spot from the road with “T-A-C-O” spelled out in big letters on the front. Iovino likes to keep things simple and straightforward. As he puts it, “We don’t want to be anything more than we are — and we want to do what we say.”
For Taco Diablo, that means fresh tacos served from a small menu like you would see on a taco truck. Taco filling options include red chile chicken, carne asada, carnitas, queso fresco and other fresh toppings. There are options for a bowl or burrito along with chips, rice, beans and quinoa salad.
The taco stand moved into the same spot that was once io Deli, which has now moved into a larger space next door. The new io Deli was rebuilt to make room for plenty of seating and a full kitchen enabling the chefs to expand the dining choices.
“We’re pushing the menu to do a little bit more, along with more made-to-order options,” says Iovino, adding, “we now have more space to spread out and fly with the deli to try some new things.”
The new incarnation of io Deli has a comfortable, neighborhood feel. On a late summer day with school still a week away, the new space buzzed at lunch with a mix of local kids and parents at tables and customers waiting on to-go orders. Sandwiches, salads, wings and hot dogs are rapidly served up at the deli counter. Clearly, people have discovered the new location.
There’s more good news for the neighborhood: Breakfast is in the works.
Dividing responsibilities comes easily to Jeff and Carol, but they credit the success of their operation, which now includes three entities, to the team they have put together. “The more you can enable everyone around you, the better the whole show is,” says Jeff.
Café io originally opened as Iovino’s Cafe in 2006. The couple changed the concept from a slightly upscale Italian restaurant to a more casual comfort food eatery in 2011. They opened the first version of the io Deli in 2014.
“I grew up here, right down the street,” says Iovino adding, “We love being a part of this neighborhood and a part of Beverly Road.”
Taco Diablo is located at 300C Beverly Road. Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday 5 – 9:30 p.m., closed Monday.
io Deli is located at 306 Beverly Road. Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., closed Sunday.
Café io is located at 300A Beverly Road. Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., closed Sunday.