Dianna Martinez started the Purple Rooster Cafe in Plainville about three years ago and she said it was the best thing she’s every done.
“I was a manager of an auto shop in the parts' department,” she said. “I always wanted to make the change, but as a single mom for 22 years, I just never had the money.”
Martinez said it was a jarring incident that led to her leaving the auto industry for the restaurant business. She said she fell one day in the kitchen and hurt her knee, and due to a surgeon’s mistake was out of commission for a year and half.
“No unemployment, no nothing, so my mom pushed me to open the restaurant,”she said.
Martinez said it was always her mom pushing and helping to her to realize her dream of a restaurant. She gave it the name, for a start.
“My mom always told me to either do it or shut up,” she said with a laugh. “I took the last of my savings and I opened it. My mom came up with the name, my kids didn’t like my names. My hair is naturally a dirty blond and my son’s girlfriend, who’s a stylist, dyed it purple. My mom said, 'hey you have purple hair, call it the purple rooster.”'
The unique name does help convey the unique style of food Martinez and serves. She cooks a lot of specials for holidays. For Valentine’s Day, for instance, she cooks a raspberry chocolate beef.
“The beef cooks all day long in our raspberry chocolate sauce,” she said. “People tend to think beef tastes one way. They say their taste buds are fooling them when they bite into it.”
She added this Father’s Day, she made Jack Daniels and Coke muffins, as opposed to the Blue Moon and Blueberry muffins.
Martinez said the business really took off when she started serving gluton free food.
“My mom told one person I cooked gluton free food, and it just exploded,” she said. “They put me on findmeglutonfree.com and it got too much. I expanded the kitchen, bought a grill and within four months, I outgrew the grill. Even now, it’s like a could use a bigger one.”
Martinez said though the restaurant was a big part of her relationship with her mom, it was a bittersweet moment. She said her mom was diagnosed with cancer on the day she opened. She said regardless of her own condition, her mother stood by her and helped the restaurant in any way she could.
“She passed six months after I opened,” she said. “She was here everyday. She’d be like the mayor on Sundays, she knew all the customers and she’d make the rounds.”
Martinez said it was an emotional beginning for the restaurant, but she said her mom lives on in the business.
“It’s like we know my mom’s still here,” she said. “There’s a dinger on the door so I’ll know if someone’s here. She used to come in every Sunday at 11:40 after church. Now every Sunday at 11:40 the door dings and nobody’s there. It really freaks out the new waitresses.”
Martinez said they hold a cancer benefit every year on her mother’s birthday. She said it’s really important to her to remember what she did for the business, as without her encouragement it may never have happened.
“Everybody told me not to,” she said. “Family and friends were against it, but it’s the customers who support me.”
The Purple Rooster is located at 105 South St. in Plainville and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Frdayi, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Monday, closed