By Tracy Dietlin

One of the great things about our valley is that we have a plethora of dining venues to choose from.

I always get excited when I stumble upon a well-kept secret or restaurant that is not at all what I would expect. That would be the case with Richie’s Diner in the Westfield Shopping Mall in Palm Desert. We’ve all heard the old adage that “you get what you pay for” however, at Richie’s you get a little more.

I totally expected it to be “just a burger joint and malt shop” and was I surprised to find out what all they have to offer. YES!! They have amazing burgers, fries, malts and shakes but they also have a full dinner menu of an upscale restaurant.

After dining there on several occasions I felt I needed to let our readers know what they are missing if they haven’t tried Richie’s yet. They have a fantastic fish menu which includes options like Atlantic wild salmon, tilapia filet scampi style, Macademia nut Alaskan filets, fried shrimp, fish and chips and my favorite the boneless rainbow trout. All are served with different accompaniments like vegetables, garden rice, French fries, salad or coleslaw and all for 10.95 or less (salmon dinner is 12.95).Not only is it a great value but the fish is fresh and delicious.

Richie’s also boasts quite a steak menu with Premium Sirloin (14.95), Premium Rib Eye (18.95), Premium Porterhouse (21.95) and one of the best filet mignon in town for only (15.95). The filet was hand-cut fresh on the premises and cooked to perfection. These dinners also included potato and vegetables.

Perhaps you’re in the mood for a rack of ribs or tri-tip which is slow roasted daily in their outdoor cooker making the meat fall off the bone and taste tender and juicy.

If you’re looking to eat on the lighter side they have an amazing salad selection with my favorites being the Apple Walnut Chicken Salad and the Tri-tip Salad for 9.95.

They also have every type of sandwich your heart desires (too many to list), same goes for the burgers, soups and starters. I have to say it’s the most extensive menu I have seen, sure to satisfy anyone’s taste buds. I have not been disappointed by any of the meals I’ve had there and I’ve tried many items on the menu.

Their desserts include cheesecakes, sundaes and several pies with my favorite being a tie between the Creamy banana and the Peanut butter. They are all made fresh daily. At the end of the day any pies that are left over do not get served the next day. Richie’s takes pride in all of their meats and ingredients being made fresh on a daily basis and you can tell with every bite.

That probably has to do with Richie’s being a family business from the start.

While 2013 has Richie’s celebrating their 22nd Anniversary, their tradition of pleasin’ people with good country cookin’ goes way back. It was over a half century ago when founders Jack and Linda Williams got hitched and began their lifetime dedication to the food industry. Along the way, they helped develop the concept for a well-known steakhouse chain and built 38 restaurants in two decades, becoming their largest and most successful franchisee.

 

Growing up among local ranches and farms of West Texas and New Mexico, Jack’s standards were set high with the freshest, highest quality meats and produce. And the backyard BBQ was not just a grill, it was a school – where Jack perfected the wood-smoked flavors that are now a signature of the Richie’s menu. Alabama-raised Linda was brimmin’ with recipes for homestyle meals and desserts, and longed to serve ’em up with that famous Southern hospitality. Together, they dreamed up the “Real American Diner” concept: old-fashioned country cookin’, using only the best ingredients, served by a friendly, courteous staff devoted to “pleasin’ people”.

The dream became reality in 1991 with the first Richie’s Diner established in Temecula, California. The restaurant became a community favorite and neighboring Murrieta soon demanded a Richie’s of their own. Concerned that franchising would compromise the unique quality, personality and service which gave the Diner its special appeal, Richie’s Diner remains a privately held, family-run business. The tradition continued with the 2007 opening of the Victoria Gardens (Rancho Cucamonga) and the January 2012 Westfield Mall (Palm Desert) locations by their daughter and son-in-law Sally and Gary Myers, seasoned people pleasers themselves, with 36 years of experience as restaurateurs. More locations are in the works, but expansion will be carefully planned to assure that every guest will enjoy Richie’s famous old-fashioned hospitality and the freshest, highest quality breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts!

The “Richie” of Richie’s Real American Diner is named after a real person, Rich Snyder. Rich began working in his family’s In-N-Out Burger restaurants at an early age and became President and CEO of the company when he was only 24.

He was also a close, personal friend of Jack and Linda, and they admired the high standards he maintained in every one of his restaurants. As a tribute to the accomplishment and excellence Rich contributed to the restaurant industry, Jack and Linda named Richie’s Real American Diner in his honor.

Richie’s serves lunch and dinner but many people don’t know that they start serving breakfast at 7am Mon.-Fri. until 10am. While the Mall isn’t open yet you can enter from their own doors and enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast for 5.95-7.95.

Richie’s also has an array of old time hard to find bottles of sodas, candies and other goodies that will surely take you back to your childhood or entertain your children. They also serve beer and wine for the adults. They are open Sun.-Thurs. 8am-10pm and Fri. & Sat. 8am-11pm. Call 760-773-2677 or go to www.richiesdiner.com. Head to Richie’s for a whole new dining experience that’s delicious and affordable.

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