More Outdoor Dining

Downtown Palm Springs Expands Its Already Spacious Cuisine Scene

By Kevin Perry

Admittedly, 2020 has been rife with challenges, but traffic is not one of them. The roads are as sleepy as a relaxing vacation in our fair city… so our fair city has decided to put those inviting roads to great use.

Palm Canyon is still the nerve center of downtown life, but now it is wide open for maximum sociability. The corner of Arenas is rolling out the gourmet-green carpet, situating place settings several yards into the cleared roadway.

Lulu California Bistro has festooned the intersection with pastel, triangular camisoles to provide shade and atmosphere. The décor also serves to offset the stark, white barriers directing cars away from Palm Canyon’s foodie festivities. Social distancing is at the top of the menu and masks are a must. Bust out your Sunday-best face covering and dress to impress!

Speaking of Sundays, the weekend was made for noshing, and Palm Springs is the brunch capital of California. Farther up Palm Canyon, you will find shimmering, orange satisfaction, also known as Trio Palm Springs.

Their expanded patio allows for maximum room to stretch and swivel, which you’ll definitely need after one of Trio’s hearty meals. Remember to wash down your home-cooked treats with a bottomless mimosa – but be sure to check their weekend specials, because the deals at Trio evolve as rapidly as the times in which we live.

For surefire mimosa refreshment, check out the dueling destinations on Tahquitz Canyon Way. That’s right: Palm Canyon isn’t the only block party in town. Just follow the hot pink umbrellas to find Pinocchio’s in the Desert. They offer classic diner deliciousness and bottomless champagne for only $4.95.

Record scratch! Double take! No, that was not a typo – enjoy a bubbly escape from your worries for only $4.95 with the purchase of a meal. Not to be outdone, Oscar’s is refreshing your cup and glamming it up, mimosa style. While we yearn for the triumphant return of their infamous drag queen “Bitchiest Brunch” and celebratory Sunday T-Dance, Oscar’s is wading into the waters of reopening with caution and respect.

Plexiglass partitions and lush hedges separate the sprawling table placement. Oscar’s and Pinocchio’s are adopting a similar strategy to social distancing. Their respective layouts allow guests to feel like space age travelers beckoned to a mid-mod food pod, designated specifically for their dining pleasure.

In signature Palm Springs fashion, the reopening initiatives that have updated our landscape have not detracted from the overall flow of hometown life. Prior to the shutdown, Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon were both one-way thoroughfares, effectively creating a loop that transported visitors efficiently through downtown. To accommodate the new, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, Indian Canyon has become a two-way street.

Now, northbound guests can cool their heels and steam up their palates at Thai Smile. The welcoming veranda embraces the corner of Indian and Tahquitz, eliciting the very smiles that give this local favorite its name.

Southbound travelers can cozy up to the outdoor seating plan at Bill’s Pizza. Even though Indian Canyon is busier than normal, nothing can douse the flame of our passion for pizza. But Bill’s offers more than just delectable slices. Sip through their microbrew menu or enjoy a glass of wine with your meal. Gaze out at the street adjacent to the patio and watch as teamwork pulses all around you.

The city of Palm Springs is adapting beautifully to the uncertainty that has shrouded this year. Growth is not necessarily synonymous with hardship. In fact, resourceful businesses have found opportunity lining their sidewalks in the form of enhanced dining space.


El Fresco dining couldn’t be more fun that at one of the largest patios in Palm Springs. With a sophisticated and  modern vibe combined with a menu great selection and crafted cocktails, Eight4Nine is always a great choice. Located in Uptown, with 9,000 square feet of interior and exterior dining areas, keeping you safe is easy.

During various times of human history, pioneer folklore and popular myth described mythical streets paved with gold. Well, we find ourselves at yet another historical crossroads, and this one is momentous. The gold coating our collective path forward is not a literal precious metal, but rather a spirit of camaraderie and cooperation.

We will achieve the right balance as we reopen Palm Springs thoughtfully and responsibly. For now, we feast on the ample space that unfurls around us and relish in the chance to gaze across that six foot divide between our tables. Bon appétit, friends and neighbors.


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