Originally Published: November 26, 2015 6:02 a.m.
David Seigler left his Whiskey Row restaurant, Devil's Pantry, to take over as executive director at New Horizons Disability Empowerment Center about four months ago.
Seigler and his wife, Amy, opened Devil's Pantry in 2011. Seigler had lost his job as vice president of community relations and development at Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters when the economy tanked. He took other jobs, but the family went bankrupt and lost their home. Desperate to turn things around, Seigler used their last $6,000 to buy a deep fryer and started selling deep-fried treats out of a trailer at places like courthouse plaza and Mortimer Farms.
"People lined up. It was successful," he said.
It was when he was driving back from a gig in the Valley that he decided he needed a bricks and mortar location. He conceived of a business plan on the road, put it on paper and then advertised for investors on Craigslist.
The restaurant, which caters to the late night crowd on Whiskey Row, specializes in deep-fried goodies like fish and chips and bacon-wrapped corndogs. Also on the menu are hamburgers, funnel cake, caramel apple fries and root-beer floats.
Devil's Pantry has been a success because it's unique.
"There's nowhere else you can get that menu. Period," he said.
But Seigler has struggled with how the restaurant took him away from his family. One year his kids bought him a futon so he could sleep in the restaurant office.
"I missed making the world a better place," said Seigler, whose Arizona State University degree is in nonprofit management.
He interned at the United Way in Phoenix, served as senior VP of development for a Valley food bank before moving to Prescott to work for BBBS. He earned a reputation as a crisis solver. Before he began work, the food bank was a half-million in debt and kids were aging out of BBBS before they got a match.
So when a friend told him a local disability group needed a leader and was wrestling with the question of what to do with a new building, he met with the chairman of the board. It was a good fit.
Devil's Pantry remains open. Seigler hired other folks to run it for him while he heads up New Horizons.
Follow Arlene Hittle on Twitter @ahittle_dc. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2036, or 928-830-2928.