By Denise Ortuno

With big drinks, great food and a, “Everybody knows my name” kind of vibe, you’re sure to have a good time at Cactus Jacks in Palm Desert.

I remember entering the building where Cactus Jacks sits now, many moons ago when it was Smokey’s. It had twinkle lights and felt like the kind of place I would want to hang out at with good friends. Fast forward many more moons, and it has now been the home of Cactus Jacks for more than a decade, and is a place that I have happily hung out with good friends. It is the second location for the restaurant, a sister spot to its long standing anchor in Indio. Their eastside place has since closed, but thankfully for all of us Cactus Jacks fans, the Palm Desert favorite is still going strong.

The restaurant has a consistency about it. On any given day, you can swing by the bar between lunch and dinner and it will be filled with happy regulars. It’s the only place that I can recall seeing people drinking full on cocktails at lunch time. And I’m not talking about skinny margaritas, I’m talking about serious martini and scotch on the rocks time. If you scan the bar, without looking like you’re trying to eavesdrop, you’ll notice clusters of people who you would swear meeting up at Cactus Jacks is a running ritual for them. I tell you, it’s heartwarming.


Of course, it’s always a good idea to have something to absorb all of that liquid, and their delicious menu with traditional favorites has you covered. You can dine at the bar, in the dining room, or on the outside patio that has an intimate bar setting. The inside bar is usually where I have enjoyed sitting. It just seems extra lively at the bar. There I like to enjoy their Prime Rib Sliders, served with creamy horseradish and French Fries, or one of their ½ pound burgers, um, Bacon and Cheese please! One my favorites at Cactus Jacks is there Asparagus Fries. I have been ordering them since they appeared on the menu years ago. I’m pretty sure that they started the Asparagus Fries craze (yes, it’s a craze). I love them there, they are dredged in parmesan, panko crumbs and then deep fried, and served with cool ranch. The golden fried Asparagus has a subtle crunch, and goes deliciously with the creamy ranch. The best part is, or the second best is, is that it’s a vegetable, and although it’s fried, you still can feel good about eating it. Right?!?

There are many other must tries at Cactus Jacks, such as their Prime Rib dinner plates, with Petite, Regular or Extra Cut, sizes. The Prime Rib along with other dinner items such as Steaks, Pasta and Seafood, come with your choice of soup or salad, potato, rice pilaf or pasta and their warm sourdough rolls.

It doesn’t matter if you’re stopping by Cactus Jacks for a complete meal, little nibble, or a couple of drinks with dear friends. One thing is for sure, you will feel welcomed and have a good time, and if you go there regularly, “Everybody will know your name”.

Cactus Jacks is located at 74-450 Hwy 111, Palm Desert Ca, 92260-760-346-1565