Taste of South Italy Comes to North Palm Springs

Mookie's Pizza Sandwiches and More doubles as a dining spot or late-night stop



Chef Giuseppi Panetta makes his own pizza sauce and dough from scratch at Mookie's Pizza Sandwiches and More in North Palm Springs.

David Lee

One of the keys to a relationship is understanding boundaries.

As the chef at Mookie’s Pizza Sandwiches and More in North Palm Springs, the kitchen is Giuseppi Panetta’s kingdom. For his partner Stafford Fredericks,  the cash register is his domain.

“Working and living together, you learn to find the balance between the two of you,” Fredericks said. “We work real well together.”

Since opening in October at 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, the duo makes sure there are no borders for their customers.

From the green and red décor of Panetta’s homeland in Calabria, Italy, to sauces and dough made from scratch and fresh every day, Mookie’s offers sit-down dining to late-night, grab as you go cravings.

“We try to make customers feel welcome,” Fredericks said. “That’s the real key, like they are part of the family when they walk in the door. That’s true in any business, but especially with food. Food is very personal.”

Mookie’s is situated on Palm Canyon Drive right next to Toucans Tiki Lounge, so it’s hidden some from the drive-by traffic. However, if you’re at the bar or out after bar closings, Mookie’s is open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Panetta, who trained as a chef in Italy, doubles as Toucans’ security guy at night and spends his days at Mookie’s creating dishes from traditional pizza to a variety of calzones, lasagna, meatballs and spaghetti. 

He’s open to requests. Just ask Tina, a customer who had a calzone named after her because of its unique ingredients of bacon, spinach, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese.

“When people ask if we have something, we try to put it on the menu,” Panetta said. “Lots of people ask for certain items. I can make it for them. If you want to wait 10 minutes, I can give it to you.”

The feedback on Facebook and Yelp has been encouraging, particularly from Stephen S., who said Panetta’s ravioli rivaled his grandmother’s.

“I get the ideas for my recipes from my mind, but there are a few I have from my grandma,” said Panetta, whose resume includes Say Cheese in Los Angeles and the former Enzo’s in downtown Palm Springs. “When I cook, I put my passion into it.”

But when it comes to naming real ingredients, don’t ask Panetta what he puts in his famous sauce. He couldn’t tell you not because of some family secret, but because he rarely makes it the same way twice.

“When people ask what’s in my sauce, I say, ‘just sauce’,” he said.

 

 Listen to who the restaurant was named after.

 

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Tony Hawk Shows He Can Still Fly at Palm Springs Skateboarding Event

Tony Hawk was among a group of professional skateboard legends brought together by two-time skateboard world champion Eddie “El Gato” Elguera of Palm Desert in Palm Springs.

Bill Clinton Outlines Community Health Initiatives in Palm Springs

Former President Bill Clinton spoke on the importance of special initiatives to improve the health and wellness of the Coachella Valley as part of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative Blueprint for Action.

Dave Wakeling, The English Beat Ready to Conquer The Hood Bar

As a famous British Two Tone SKA musician in The English Beat and later as half of the popular duo General Public, David Wakeling has had his share of the limelight.

Babe's Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse Earns National Ranking

Babe's Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse in Rancho Mirage serves one of the top-10 ranked Belgium pale ales in the country, according to Beerinfo.com.

Saxony Group Fashion Week El Paseo Marks 10th Anniversary

Fashion Week El Paseo™ 2015, set for March 21-28, marks its 10th anniversary with Saxony Group as the title sponsor and a host of runway shows and events.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Enter for a Chance to Win a Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert 2015 Grand Experience
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags