by Lisa Morgan

It is official. The Funkey family is the Coachella Valley’s providers of atmospheric genius and dining experience. I say this because this same hard working family who have provided the Coachella Valley with Italian freshness and Chicago style pizza for the last several years at Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta, who then successfully launched Bar, a very classy but comfortable place for dinner that offers entertainment with top notch DJs and live bands, now have another new, fantastic venue to boast about: The Smoke Tree Supper Club. True to their traditional formula for success, they once again bring only the freshest, best quality ingredients to your table from their kitchen and bar. This table, however, is set up a bit differently, but just as delightfully. The sophisticated yet warm style of family dining is at its best here. On the patio, the grill is the central feature as you watch food prepared by “experts”. The bench seating inspires conversation and camaraderie between friends as well as strangers. Any other restaurateur may struggle with the concept, but if anybody can infuse their sense of family and genuine friendship into their dining room, patio or indoor group tables, the Funkey’s and their hand selected, amicable staff can.

The menu is completely a la carte and full of refreshingly traditional concepts presented in vogue fashion. My personal favorite is anything that they bring to the table in what I like to call “treasure pots of deliciousness”. The first individual, petite, lidded pot I was served was full of roasted garlic cloves in a fine olive oil that spread like butter on the hearty, crusty fresh bread it was served with. Then, as if they knew my deepest, darkest fetishes, they brought out stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon. The smoked salmon created a new standard of perfection for me and the hot artichoke dip, served in yet another treasure pot was creamy, savory heaven. The wedge salad also made an impression on me.

I haven’t even taken you through the main course: A beautiful, quality, New York strip steak flavorful and perfectly done, because you grill it yourself! That’s right…if you don’t like the way your food is grilled you have only yourself to blame. You also have other choices for your grilling protein including; salmon, sea scallop skewers, free range chicken breast, rack of baby back ribs, along with several beef selections such as ribeye, NY strip, porterhouse, flat iron steak, ground steak burger, Portobello mushroom burger and even filet mignon. All are accompanied by the side dishes you choose such as the ultimate mac and cheese, baked beans, grilled vegetables, rice or parmesan scalloped potatoes (in the treasure pots brought to your table just when you return with your entree). Each offering including the adult libations represented the Funkey standard described by Donovan Funkey: “We squeeze our juices fresh every day and make our own syrups. We want to provide the same kind of high quality food and drinks you would enjoy in the upper end places in Los Angeles without the stuffiness and high prices.”

The Funkey family: Joe and Sue along with son Donovan, daughter-in-law Molly, and daughters Kimberleigh and Jordan, are all collectively working together to bring their fresh cooking and mixology skills to downtown Palm Springs. This family has a knack for finding fantastic members for their working team who are as important to the atmosphere as the fantastic designers of the venues themselves. One such member, Reggie Cameron, displayed the same love and respect for the craft as the family would have as he presented the new dining concept to members of the press displaying their same sense of care and pride sans stuffy attitude. Working hard to please, the rest of the staff, attentive and quick to fill a need were warm and easy to chat with while never missing a beat.

CV Weekly Publisher, Tracy Dietlin had this to say of her experience: “This very communal type of dining, where you get to know your neighbor sitting next to you, was a surprisingly fun way to enjoy our meal. And no other restaurant in the desert is doing the “grill your own protein” concept. I think it would be conducive to a girls/guys night out or couples wanting to enjoy a fun evening out together while enjoying a great meal and a refreshingly different experience from the norm. It is definitely a great way to meet new people. The New York strip steak was a nice cut of beef. It was tender and tasty. Considering I am a filet mignon diva, I actually enjoyed it. The Ultimate Mac and Cheese was off the hook. Potatoes were delicious and the beans were good too. I liked the way they served them in the little black miniature crocks. I especially enjoyed the hand-crafted cocktails that the Funkey’s are famous for like the Jalisco Flower which consists of tequila, St. Germaine, champagne and pink grapefruit juice. Basically, the Funkey family has done it again, creating an innovative way to dine that no one else in the desert is doing.”

Palm Springs diners, the Bar (pun is intended) has been raised once again. Enjoy this venue at your earliest opportunity! The Smoke Tree Supper Club is located in the Smoke Tree Shopping Center, just inside the breezeway next to Smokin’ Burgers. Call (760) 778-6521 or visit them on the web at