The Talon

Cafe Gecko Features Mexican-Caribbean Cuisine

The+grilled+orange+chicken+features+an+orange+honey+mustard+and+Grand+Marnier+sauce%2C+and+sides+of+sweet+pepper+corn+and+Carribean+rice+at+Cafe+Gecko+in+Plano%2C+Texas%2C+on+September+29%2C+2018.+%28Sloan+Dial+%2F+The+Talon+News%29
The grilled orange chicken features an orange honey mustard and Grand Marnier sauce, and sides of sweet pepper corn and Carribean rice at Cafe Gecko in Plano, Texas, on September 29, 2018. (Sloan Dial / The Talon News)

The grilled orange chicken features an orange honey mustard and Grand Marnier sauce, and sides of sweet pepper corn and Carribean rice at Cafe Gecko in Plano, Texas, on September 29, 2018. (Sloan Dial / The Talon News)

©The Talon News | Sloan Dial

©The Talon News | Sloan Dial

The grilled orange chicken features an orange honey mustard and Grand Marnier sauce, and sides of sweet pepper corn and Carribean rice at Cafe Gecko in Plano, Texas, on September 29, 2018. (Sloan Dial / The Talon News)

Sloan Dial and Lauren Metcalf

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Cafe Gecko’s slogan is ‘Foods from Sunny Latitudes’, a restaurant that prides itself in their Mexican-Caribbean menu and tropical cuisine.

The owner, Dennis Dial, graduated from Texas Tech in 1978. After college, he moved to Dallas so he could get a job in the business world. He interviewed for a month or two and ended up getting a high paying job. One day later, he quit his job because he decided he didn’t want to work for someone. Dial decided he would stay in Dallas and be a bartender for about twelve years until he made enough money to travel.

“I decided I could do the restaurant business better than the people I worked for,” Dial said, “so I put a plan together, and started going down to Cozumel.”

©The Talon News | Sloan Dial
The original Cafe Gecko opened in Addison in 1991 and now has two other locations in Richardson and Plano. Cafe Gecko features a Mexican-Caribbean menu and tropical cuisine. Photo of Plano location taken on Sept. 29, 2018. (Sloan Dial / The Talon News)

In the 1980’s, Dial discovered the small island of Cozumel, where he started traveling to often. Dial fell in love with the delicious cuisine, simple life-style and the flavors of the Mexican-Caribbean. In 1991, he found a small spot in Addison, Texas that would soon become the first Cafe Gecko.

“It doesn’t matter how long you’re open, it never becomes easy. It becomes easier, but there’s always a crisis around the corner,” Dial said. “There’s always something breaking down, the electricity goes out, the computer system goes down or people don’t show up for work.”

Although there’s many struggles of working in the restaurant business, Dial has managed to keep Cafe Gecko open for 27 long years.

One of the easier challenges of opening the restaurant, was coming up with a great name. He had written about 40 names down on a cocktail napkin and let people choose the name that fit the restaurant best. Cafe Gecko had the most votes and fit the slogan, ‘Foods from Sunny Latitudes.

“The theme of the menu and the inspiration behind it, was the Mexican-Caribbean feel and the tropical cuisine,” Dial said.

©The Talon News | Sloan Dial
The stuffed Jalapenos with chicken and cheese are served with a side of ranch and are one of the most popular items at Cafe Gecko in Plano, Texas, on September 29, 2018. (Sloan Dial / The Talon News)

Dial’s number one piece of advice is making sure you’re getting into the restaurant business for the right reasons. If you’re thinking about opening your own restaurant, Dial suggest working in one at least five years prior.

Dial said, “Learn all you can before taking the step, because there’s a high failure rate and a lot of people go out of business. Once you are in it for the right reasons, you can enjoy the benefits that come from all your hard work.”

“Probably the most fulfilling and best thing, is when someone comes in and has our sour cream enchiladas for the first time, and says that they are the best thing they have had in their entire lives. My favorite thing is definitely the compliments we get on the food.” Dial said.

“Dennis is extremely easy to work for and he kind of lets you think of this as your own little business,” MacIntosh said. “He makes the atmosphere very positive. He is very nice, very kind, extremely generous and always willing to help.”

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About the Contributors
Sloan Dial, Reporter

Sloan Dial is a reporter for The Talon News. Sloan enjoys Pole vaulting and running Cross Country. Outside of school, she loves portraits of people and places as well as playing with her two dogs and cat at home.

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Lauren Metcalf, Reporter

Lauren Metcalf is a reporter for The Talon News. She is super excited as this is her debut year as a reporter. You may see Lauren around the school involved in UNICEF, broadcast reporting, Studnet Council, and an NHS member. She loves playing Tennis on the AHS varsity team, going to Young Life, hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and eating excessive amounts of sushi!!

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Kristjan Feltes, Reporter

Kristjan Feltes is a reporter for The Talon News and formerly known as the Weatherman on The Argyle Middle School News. Kristjan has also won awards for UIL and is looking forward to a big future in the Talon News. He’s also a big weather geek and a Lighting Operator.

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Cafe Gecko Features Mexican-Caribbean Cuisine