our different casino properties across Southern California have been launching new dining options this year.
Spotlight 29 has opened a new brewpub; Pala Casino Spa Resort recently spent millions to revamp one of its classic dining options; and Harrah’s Resort Southern California and San Manuel Casino have both made changes to restaurant menus, as reported by The Press-Enterprise.
In Coachella, Spotlight 29 Casino has opened a new brewpub occupying the space of its former Capitata Buffet. The new restaurant, Taproom 29, features an eclectic food menu as well as 29 different beers that are poured at 29 degrees. General Manager Ryan Walker said that the new menu features items such as brick oven pizzas, finger foods such as wings and burgers and higher-end fare such as a tomahawk ribeye steak. “Basically we wanted to create a menu that had mass appeal that could cater to different palates and different desires to go out and be entertained and have dinner,” he said.
Casino officials announced the restaurant’s opening late last year on social media and will celebrate a grand opening March 1. It’s open 6 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.
At the heart of the new space is a large circular bar that can fit up to 26 people that features a wraparound ice-rail at the bar designed to keep drinks cold. Six 86-inch televisions are located at the bar as well.
More is expected to be added to the new restaurant. Walker said part of another former restaurant that closed, Gem (which was located next to the buffet), is under construction now to become an event space for The Taproom that will be able to rent for large groups or events such as bridal showers and quinceañeras. The remaining portion of Gem will become another dining concept at some point in the future, Walker said.
“Originally before COVID, we planned on this space to be the new buffet, but now obviously with the world changing our food venue offering would likely not be a buffet and will be either a formal or a quick service-type setup,” he said. Walker said that officials have also discussed adding a potential patio dining space in the future.
Pala Casino Spa Resort will finish up a $4.5 million remodel on its 20-year-old Pala Café at the end of February. The popular restaurant will not only feature a new design, but will also offer a grab-and-go foodservice area that will allow guests to pick up ready-made items without having to sit at a table and wait for service, according to casino spokesman Coley McAvoy.
He said the popular long-operating restaurant had largely remained the same since its 2001 opening and it was time for a facelift. The dining room now offers new seating and will feature a color scheme of reds and oranges and rich woods, McAvoy said.
Guest feedback led to the addition of the grab-and-go area, McAvoy said. Guests repeatedly shared their appreciation for the property’s coffee shop, Coffee Amore, because of its grab-and-go setup with coffee, sandwiches, danishes and muffins, he said, and they wanted to see either an expanded menu at the coffee shop or another grab-and-go location. “It’s centrally located to the casino floor so our guests on the slots and tables can walk over, grab an item from the Grab & Go and go back to their favorite slot machine or table game,” he said.
Other Southern California tribal casinos have had eateries change menus. Harrah’s Resort Southern California recently announced that its ‘Ritas Cantina has a new menu inspired by multiple regions of Mexico that was put together by Chef Leticia Nunez (Nunez had a big role in the opening of Casino Pauma’s Lindo Valle) and Chef Homero Lopez.
Elsewhere, San Manuel Casino announced on social media in January that George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen had added breakfast items, including chilaquiles, a chorizo and egg quesadilla and a chorizo and potato breakfast burrito. Breakfast items are available from 8-11 a.m. and can be ordered using the to-go feature on San Manuel’s website. There are chairs and tables to sit and eat around the property, but San Manuel is currently not offering dine-in service.