West Virginia Department of Commerce Barbara Aguilar

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Barbara Aguilar

Mexican food for the whole family, even the dogs

by Jama L. Jarrett

Barbara Aguilar left her native town of Hinton in 1974. As her journeys took her to other states, such as Pennsylvania and New York, one state always remained on her mind: West Virginia. “I was homesick. All I wanted was to just move back home,” said Aguilar.

After a year of careful planning, Aguilar made the transition back to the Mountain State in August 2008. “Coming home to West Virginia was like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes,” said Aguilar. “I was ecstatic to be back.”

When Aguilar and her husband, Oscar, returned to the state, they brought their passion for Mexican cuisine with them. Aguilar has 12 years of experience in preparing south-of-the-border delicacies and wasn’t about to leave them all behind. “I love the restaurant business,” said Aguilar. “But I was tired of big-city living.”

In October 2008 Aguilar opened DiOGi’s, a restaurant and cantina that serves up mouth-watering Mexican food. “My daughter suggested Fayetteville as the site for our restaurant,” said Aguilar. “The location is perfect and the people are great.” DiOGi’s menu offers scrumptious servings of crab meat enchiladas, fish tacos, chicken tortilla soup, homemade nacho chips, El Salvador guacamole and Oscar’s own bread pudding.

Oscar, a native of El Salvador, brings with him the ability to make each entree served at DiOGi’s authentic. “He adds a little twist to our dishes,” said Aguilar. “Our preparation and presentation are different; that’s what makes us different.”

DiOGi’s atmosphere is relaxing and caters not only to locals but also to the many seasonal campers, whitewater enthusiasts and other outdoor adventurers who visit the Fayetteville area. Aguilar said that by opening the restaurant in October it gave her and her staff a chance to prepare for next season. “Our late-year opening was something of a trial run. We’ve been able to work out the kinks before we get busy again,” said Aguilar.

Aguilar is a proponent of using local suppliers to do business. She utilizes the area’s farmers and vendors when possible, which is essential when you strive to serve fresh Mexican food. Aside from the tortillas, all of DiOGi’s food is made from scratch.

If you look closely, you’ll notice the word “dog” in DiOGi’s. That’s because the restaurant was named after the couple’s four dogs. Thanks to their dog’s inspiration, the Aguilar’s have opened up the deck at DiOGi’s for four-legged pals and serve each one a homemade doggie taco. “We are certainly a pet-friendly location,” said Aguilar. Many of DiOGi’s customers are tourists or visitors to the area who are staying at campgrounds or elsewhere but don’t feel comfortable leaving their pets behind.

One of West Virginia’s best kept secrets according to Aguilar, is the easy accessibility to the state’s beauty and the friendliness of its people. “We don’t have to walk for miles to see what West Virginia has to offer. It’s right out our front doors.”