‘Our heart, our soul’: Co-owners of Odessa diner talk expansion, recent challenges, and love for each other

Local News

ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – At Rooster’s Diner in Odessa, it’s all hands on deck.

Rush hour had just begun in the restaurant world. The diner opened its doors at 11, and already, friends, families, and some regulars are getting exactly what they ordered.

“It’s a hip place and the food is great,” said one man, who’s meal gently arrived seconds before his answer. He brought his co-workers into Rooster’s for lunch and the excitement is crystal clear.

If there was ever an open secret to the diner’s success, it’s that the food is fresh. Ingredients are picked daily. It’s all compliments to the chef: Erik Prado.

“We wouldn’t be here without the support of the community and the faithful customers that come in,” Erik said. “It is nice to see what we have created.”

Just like the food cooking in the kitchen, Rooster’s Diner is a labor of love. Chef Erik shares that love with his business partner, and wife, Dede Prado.

“We’re very blessed for the love and support we do get,” Dede said.

Dede runs the front of the house. Erik is in the back. There’s no doubt the Prados make a great team for this dream they both share. From their Rooster’s Rolling Diner food truck years ago, to the brick-and-mortar business they have now, their journey here – to 615 N Sam Houston Avenue – is the product of immense, and hard, work.

Our reporter Rob Tooke first met with Erik in February. A freak ice storm froze and burst the diner’s pipes. The freeze was not expected, nor typical, of West Texas weather. But it did stall the diner. Erik would call it, ‘a one-two punch,’ because the Coronavirus pandemic was already taking its toll.

The pipes would get repaired, and the pandemic would slow. But the summer months slowed customer traffic further, with families out of town and away on vacation. Dede says there was also a hiring shortage.

“It’s rough,” Dede said. “The restaurant life is rough as it is, but it’s good.”

It is good, because Dede says the Rooster’s Diner staff are rolling with the punches, and adjusting as they go.

“Any hurdles that a restaurant goes through, we’ve been through,” Erik said. “But it’s been good hurdles.”

Because there’s something very special going for the diner at the moment.

They were in the middle of building a new setup in the backyard during the pandemic. The design includes an outdoor dining section, complete with a bar and live music.

At last, it’s coming together.

“It finally happened. A weight was lifted off our shoulders. We launched the bar,” Erik muses.

It’s a good resliency both Erik and Dede share, not just with each other, but with their staff, to finally see a project come to fruition.

“Because we put everything into this. We put our heart, our soul, blood, sweat, and tears. We are very blessed to see people liking what we are doing,” Dede said.

Just last Friday, Rooster’s Diner opened its outdoor section to new customers. A lot of people showed up, but it was nothing Dede and Erik couldn’t handle.

Courtesy: Facebook Live – Rooster’s Diner

“They were dancing and it was just a good feeling,” Dede said.

After all, having a lot of customers was a good problem to have.

Like the food that brings comfort, so does seeing people come together for a night in Odessa.

“It is a big part as a community to help each other out, to stay tight, and to support local businesses,” Erik said.

Of course, while the diners enjoyed each other’s company, Erik and Dede were there, too, in the background, certainly proud of the work they’ve put in. They have just a small message for each other:

“There’s no one else I feel I could do this with,” Erik said.

“All the hard work he’s putting in is for good reason, not just for our family, but for the community,” Dede said.

Rooster’s Diner is located at 615 N Sam Houston Avenue. The diner will hold live music events on Thursday and Friday nights.

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