Burgers and beer, old school diners, poolside salads and fruity drinks with umbrellas, lunch in the desert is a festive affair with delicious eats and a healthy splash of fun. We recommend a leisurely midday meal to catch up with friends and enjoy the slower pace of desert life before heading back to the pool or golf course.
Feature photo: Courtesy of The Tropicale Palm Springs
This charming gastropub has weighty local chefs behind it, so get ready for seriously good, upscale bar food on the patio. You’ll find gourmet bites like tri-tip on focaccia with cave-aged cheddar and horseradish aioli; pinko-breaded onion rings and sweet and spicy wings with house-made BBQ sauce. Famed architect Chris Pardo designed the alluring Palm Springs favorite that attracts a high-energy drinking and dining crowd. 1501 is the brainchild of chefs Willie Rhine (Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge + Willie’s) and Chad Gardner (533 Viet Fusion and Roly China Fusion). Lunch Monday to Friday 11am to3 pm; Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm. 1501uptown.com
In 1975, Reed Gardner (Billy) and Robbie Lemley opened Billy Reed’s Restaurant & Bakery, highlighting the award-winning recipes from Billy’s grandmother, who taught him how to bake. In 1987, retirement called and the two leased the restaurant for 25 years to a new owner, while retaining ownership of the property. In 2012, the duo took back the restaurant, and Billy is once again at the helm baking all the cakes and pies each day. Coconut-pineapple and carrot cakes are a must-try, and the peach pie is one of their biggest hits made with juicy, ripe fruit. The dark wood interiors with stained glass accents give the restaurant a Cheers, where-everybody-knows-your-name, vibe. Classic lunch items run the gamut from shrimp Louie and chicken pot pies to Reuben’s and French dips. Daily 8am to 9pm. apps.billyreedsps.com
Where did Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Rita Hayworth all get their sandwich fix in the desert? Sherman’s Deli, of course. For the past 60 years, this local hotspot has been dishing out deli classics like hot pastrami, corned beef, and meatloaf sandwiches. Attention to quality and freshness is the key to their success — they roast their own meats, make their coleslaw from scratch, and their bread is made fresh, in-house daily. The food is only outdone by the excellent customer service. Daily 8 am to 9pm. shermansdeli.com
The Tropicale Palm Springs
Stepping inside the Tropicale feels like walking onto the set of The Birdcage. With heavy Miami vibes and menu featuring lighter fare that’s ideal for the desert climate, there are plenty of fresh and grilled items here including the vintage ranch gorgonzola-crusted filet mignon and Kailua barbecued pork chops, in addition to numerous salads and tapas. And mojitos. Try the delish blueberry vodka mojito, as it’s fantastic. The Coral Seas Lounge, mid-century style bar, wraps around the dining room and leads outside to a lush, 2,000 square foot dining patio, ideal for tropical drinks festooned with umbrellas and bright flowers. Lunch Wednesday through Sunday 11am to 3pm. thetropicale.com
Head to the shaded patio of this popular burger joint that was once the site of an old filling station. Here you’ll find classics like old-fashioned hamburgers, hot dogs, BLTs, patty melts, malts, floats and skinny fries, of course. The meat is ground daily, the fresh buns are delivered each morning, the sandwich bread is organic, and the staff is mighty friendly at this cash-only casual eatery. Lunch Monday through Saturday 11am to 4pm. tylersburgers.com