Newly-opened this season, Appetito is carving a new path in the deli/bistro offerings in Palm Springs. Co-owners Patrick Service and John Shay, both veterans in the food and hospitality business, have created a tasty and stylish hybrid of an Italian deli, casual bistro, and trendy watering hole located in South Palm Springs, across the street from the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, adjacent to Koffi.
Patrick is the 4th generation of a family dynasty that runs the Las Casuelas group of restaurants located throughout the desert communities since 1958. After getting his degree in Business and Marketing from USC and working in commercial real estate, he segued to pursue his passion for the hospitality business he learned from working with his grandparents’ at their original Casuelas Restaurant in Palm Springs then later at their famed Las Casuelas Terraza in the heart of downtown.
Patrick worked in every aspect of the business – cashier, dishwasher, host, and general manager. “I loved it; the camaraderie was great and it was gratifying to see people enjoying themselves from your work,” he recalls.
After working in real estate for a time, he set his sights on a career in the business he grew up in. Patrick headed to New York and got a master’s degree in Management and Hospitality from Cornell University. Shortly thereafter, he found his dream opportunity in celebrity chef Danny Meyer’s Union Square Café and in 2009 helped open Meyer’s celebrated Mailaino Restaurant where he was Wine and Beverage Director.
After four years in New York, Patrick felt the desert beckoning. He returned to Palm Springs and worked at Las Casuelas Terraza where he joined general manager, John Shay.
Before locating to Palm Springs in 2005 to take over operations at Las Casuelas Terraza, John had a long successful career in the restaurant business in Los Angeles as food and beverage operations for the Universal City Walk and several national restaurant chains. John received his degree from Cal Poly in Operations Management.
They soon began visioning a joint project where they could merge their talents – Patrick’s creative side and John’s technical/operations expertise. “We wanted something fun and casual,” says John. In March of this year, their efforts came to fruition and Appetito was born.
Fresh is their guiding principle and their motto is “no rules.” Take out or eat in, your choice. All cheeses, pastas, bread are hand-made in-house. Your palate will be tempted with the array of freshly-made pastas, salads, sandwiches and flatbread pizzas. Pair your choice with a handcrafted cocktail, a glass of wine, or savor a glass of Appetito Ale, specially brewed by Coachella Valley Brewing.
We sat down and chatted with Patrick and John about Appetito and being involved in the exciting new dining scene in Palm Springs:
Tell our Palm Springs visitors and residents what exciting things you are up to.
We are making any and all products that we can in house, using only the freshest local and regional products whenever possible - we love giving our guests the best flavors! We are getting ready right now to get our summer menu up and running.
For someone who has not visited Palm Springs before, how would you describe the experience?
It's a casual atmosphere in a very stylish setting - we look to make you feel comfortable and set you in the mood for fun. Our drinks are all food friendly and our dishes are really best to be shared. You can sit at the fire pit and have one of the greatest views of Mount San Jacinto in Palm Springs or rest comfortably in one of our booths and taste some of our best riffs on Italian classics.
Why would you encourage visitors to come to Palm Springs?
Palm Springs is one of the most idyllic places in all of beautiful Southern California. The people are incredible and the town offers anything you could want for a vacation - exciting nightlife, great restaurants, beautiful hikes, desert exploration, spa days, casino nights and great golfing.
What is one thing you think people might want to know about Palm Springs or be surprised to discover about the destination?
The level of hospitality from everyone here. When you go for a run, hike or just out exploring…it’s rare for people passing nearby to not smile, greet you and ask how your day is going. It's something that makes me very proud to live here.
What is your vision for the future of Palm Springs as a tourist destination?
Palm Springs has long been the weekend refuge from the hustle and bustle lifestyle of the coastal cities, but it's fast becoming a global destination. Palm Springs will grow its reach to more international travelers while still staying a second home for Southern California residents looking to get away.
1700 S El Camino Real, Palm Springs, CA, 92264
760-327-1929 / http://www.appetitodeli.com/