By Crystal Harrell / Photos by Kurt Schawacker
Tucked away in a private outdoor patio adjacent to the Palm Springs Art Museum, Persimmon Bistro & Wine Bar exudes culinary authenticity merged with a modern Mediterranean flare. After being closed for seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the establishment is now reopened for business with atmospheric outdoor dining.
This lunch restaurant is run by Art Vasquez, who has been at the helm of the restaurant since May of 2019. It had been a slow season at the start of his run and just as he was beginning to familiarize himself with his customer base, spring of 2020 had marked the beginning of COVID-related shutdowns.
Persimmon Bistro had been at the same location previously since fall of 2017 before Vasquez became owner two years later. He had incorporated a Wine Bar and strives to make his eatery a true destination for connoisseurs of flavorful cuisine, and prioritizes building a relationship with his customers.
“I have been in the desert for 19 years. I moved here November just after 9/11, and I spent 17 years operating Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse (in Rancho Mirage), so I’ve made a lot of friends and connections. I really value the friendships I have with the community, and how the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce has embraced the restaurant,” said Vasquez.
Persimmon Bistro & Wine Bar had the second largest ribbon cutting ceremony ever in Palm Springs, with over 220 people in attendance. Although it had a warm reception and eager welcoming, like many businesses during this time, Persimmon Bistro & Wine Bar has had to adapt to the new regulations in the pandemic climate. The restaurant has expanded its outdoor seating capacity from eight tables on the patio before the pandemic to the 15 that are now rearranged there. Vasquez also postponed the reopening so that it would be more enjoyable to sit outside and eat in the fall weather as opposed to the triple-degree summer heat.
The lasting appeal of Persimmon Bistro & Wine Bar is attributed to the harmonious menu with complementary textures and flavors. The newly added outdoor pizza oven provides a portal to zesty ingredients and the opportunity to expand the restaurant’s menu selections of artisan wood fire pies.
Another main staple of the menu are the customizable charcuterie and cheese boards, consisting of artisan meats, cheeses, and a plethora of appetizing selections like house-made tapenade and hummus, flights of olives, fig jam, and mixed nuts and dried fruit.
To compliment your entrée choices, Persimmon Bistro is home to an extensive Wine Bar that will not only enrich your taste palate, but also accentuate the natural flavors of the ingredients in your meal. The variety of drink options consists of lush red wines, white wine from Temecula to Italy, California Craft and Belgian beer, hard cider and kombucha, rosé, as well as sparkling and Prosecco options.
“I’m not going to put food in front of someone that I wouldn’t eat myself. My whole menu consists of things I would eat. I really want people to discover this place. Even if not for the food, I want them to come back and enjoy the back patio with a glass of wine. Even though I’ve been cooking since the mid-80s, I don’t like to pigeonhole myself as a chef. I would rather people think of me as a mover and shaker in the hospitality industry because I am somebody that wants to give you the whole package. I want people to enjoy the whole experience, not just the food,” explained Vasquez.