By Denise Ortuno Neil
For a cool neighborhood vibe, with inviting service and delicious food, you can’t miss with El Paseo Grill.
It might sound like El Paseo Grill is right on the famed Palm Desert street, filled with high end boutiques and restaurants to match. But the cozy little nook is more off of El Paseo, located in a small strip mall cornered by Hwy 111, and is far from the “pricy” expectations of the street that is incorporated in its name.
Opened in 2014, the relaxed unpretentious nature of El Paseo Grill fits its owners, Carol and Chris Schallert. The couple moved to the Coachella Valley to slow down and semi-retire from their successful restaurant business that they had for almost 30 years in Northern California. However, when they came across the quaint restaurant space for sale in Palm Desert, their plans quickly changed and they decided to get back into the business. It’s beneficial to all of us that they did.
The ambience and food match up perfectly at El Paseo Grill. One side of the restaurant has a faux brick wall, with the other having a chain link fence adhered to it, a place where patrons can leave their business cards. The art work displayed and the look of the restaurant is done by their son, and reminds them of home, opting for a more “real” look opposed to anything fancy. It reminded me of a set of a restaurant that would appear in a television After School Special back in the day. Where kids could hang out and have a bite to eat and chat about the day’s events. It has that kind of comforting warmth that not only is present in the restaurants aesthetics, but comes flowing out of their food.
By the suggestion of a friend of mine, my visit to El Paseo Grill was motivated by the desire to try one of their burgers. The Dumpster Burger peeked my curiosity, and the enthusiastic recollection of my friends burger experience, sealed my selection to try it for myself. I stepped up and ordered the burger, a drink and fries. The huge Dumpster Burger was served, with fries in tow. The burger, made with Grass-fed Beef, was topped with bacon, mushrooms, bleu cheese and grilled onions, as well as lettuce, tomato, kosher pickle and mayo. The difference in the meat alone was very apparent. It was light and flavorful, missing that lingering, heavy greasy taste that regular beef can sometimes have. The other fresh ingredients blended perfectly with the beef, all sandwiched together by their homemade bread. The scratch made bread is a perfect complement to all of their sandwiches and burgers. That is the key at El Paseo Grill, they are all about having their ingredients made in house. From their dressings, to daily cut lettuce and produce, it’s the freshness that counts, “It’s a healthy take on fast food”, says Carol.
Other menu items that are available at El Paseo Grill include a variety of chicken sandwiches such as the, Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich (balsamic grilled chicken with feta cheese, lettuce and roasted red pepper aioli), Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich (lime cilantro chicken breast with mayo, lettuce, fresh tomato salsa and avocado) and one that I will be trying on my next visit, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich (grilled chicken breast with jack cheese, lettuce and Jamaican jerk sauce), among others. They also serve up hot dogs, and salads, as well as breakfast items such as French Toast with fresh whipped cream.
Although Carol states that, “We are not trying to set the world on fire”, with their restaurant, I believe that they have made a positive contribution to the restaurant scene in the Coachella Valley.
El Paseo Grill offers a delightful dining experience, where fantastic homespun food is served up with cordial service, and an easygoing, neighborhood vibe.
El Paseo Grill is opened Mon-Sat from 8am-3pm and located at 73-030 El Paseo, Suite #103, Palm Desert