People in the community are responding to the death of an owner of a Quad-City restaurant. The owner of Damion’s Rib Haven and her fiancé died when their car was hit by another vehicle over the weekend.
Alexia DeWalsche and Elias Rocha were well known for their sauces that are sold in Quad-City stores like Hy-Vee. The mother and cousin of Alexia, and the owner of a neighboring business, shared with Local 4 News the memories they have of the restaurant and their loved ones.
“Lexi and Elias were like the backbone to this restaurant,” said Adrian, Alexia’s cousin.
“They did such a good job running it and such a good job in keeping the legacy from Jim’s Rib Haven to Damion’s Rib Haven going,” he said.
Alexia, her fiancé Elias, and her brother Justin used to run the business together.
“They just worked so well together,” Alexia’s mother said.
Alexia and her brother Justin appeared on the Local 4 News morning show just last May, where they talked about the restaurant and its different menu items. On the show, Alexia shared with us her journey from selling the family’s food sauces at Hy-Vee, to opening a restaurant after the death of her father.
“It’s just sad. It’s going to be difficult in the future to keep a legacy going,” said Tammy.
“Right now it’s unknown what’s going to happen with the restaurant,” said Adrian.
Brianne Choitz, manager of Phat Bottom in downtown Moline, enjoys the restaurant and is grateful for her time there.
“I absolutely love Damion’s Rib Haven. Being in downtown East Moline and being so close to them, there would be days when I would get out of my car to get here to the shop and I would smell the smoker going while they were working on food. And that would be a sign that today I need to order some Damion’s, get some good ribs,” she said. “It was just one of those fun and comfortable family-friendly environments. You could tell it was run by a family, that it was loved and cared for, and everyone truly wanted you to be there.”
As the family mourns the loss of their loved ones, Tammy strives to keep herself and the family encouraged during this time.
“I just say… it’s hard, you have to pray, you have to have faith that the world isn’t trying to work against you,” she said. “Don’t hold anger about things. Say, ‘I can’t be angry about the event,’ because it’ll be even worse.”