Wilma & Frieda’s Café Offers Crave-able Comfort Food

Breakfast, lunch cafe fills niche on El Paseo

Feast on orange ricotta pancakes for breakfast at Wilma & Frieda's in Palm Desert.

Kelly McCall


The Gardens on El Paseo has added a new type of restaurant to its sophisticated mix of mostly dinner houses.

Wilma & Frieda’s Café fills a new niche for breakfast and lunch atop the outdoor shopping center offering crave-able comfort food in a classy nostalgic atmosphere.

Wilma & Frieda is named for owner Kelly McFall’s maternal and paternal grandmothers, both of whom inspired this innovative restaurateur with delicious memories of American home-style cuisine. But McFall has added with some modern tweaks and twists.

“All of the dishes are made with high quality ingredients; what makes them different is what we call a ‘crave-able factor,’” says McFall. “I’ve taken some of my grandmothers’ recipes and tweaked them a bit; taken them a step further.”

For example, try the blueberry vanilla custard French toast. Taking Wilma’s original blueberry French toast, McFall tweaked it by combining bread-pudding with cinnamon, raisins, and topped with vanilla bourbon drizzle.

Similarly, the banana caramel French toast is topped with a scoop of sour cream, tasting more like cheesecake.

Good Morning Breakfast

Served until 11:30 a.m., breakfast starts with “eeny, meany, miney and mo” – choose your egg styles and add bacon, house-made sausage, house-made English muffins or hash browns.

With the Sky’s the Limit, named for McFall’s young friend Skylar, who likes everything, you don’t have to limit your choices. Have it all: Three eggs any style, sausage and bacon, hash browns, a muffin or biscuit, and French toast or pancakes!

Benny’s Bennie – is an original Eggs benedict with Duroc pork atop house made English muffins with two poached eggs ladled with house made Hollandaise sauce.

Munch on Lunch

McFall’s secret to crave-able dishes is to use combinations that provoke a sense of mouth-watering nostalgia. The five-cheese Dom’s Delightful Red Light Mac & Cheese combines Old Amsterdam Gouda, ricotta, cream cheese, jack and Gruyere.

“It’s the Old Amsterdam Gouda that has a taste you want again and again,” says McFall. 

There is only one burger on the menu, but the patty is the real deal. It’s made from center cut ground chuck and short rib, making it juicy and flavorful. It’s served on an Amish bun with garlic aioli, lettuce and tomato. Customize the burger by adding bacon, avocado, and a choice of cheeses or caramelized onions for one or two dollars more per topping.

McFall credits Chef Chad Spears for achieving the over-the-top flavor combination.
“He worked at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion for six years and prior was at Twenty6 at the La Quinta Resort,” says McFall.

Save Room for Dessert

Desserts are the handiwork of her catering manager, Todd Konkol, whose from-scratch creations include a luscious caramel pecan pie topped with fresh whipped cream drizzled with caramel; the huge peanut butter sandwich which are two cookies held together with a whipped peanut butter center. This may be dipped in chocolate, if you like.

A Bit of History

The idea for the café had been in the works for about 10 to 15 years, McCall says.
A regional manager for Peet’s Coffee in Northern California and then Southern California, McFall developed her “foodie” side by discovering many of the bay area’s artisan cheese and olive oils makers, bakers, and small farms growing specialty crops that are available in the farmer’s markets. The great wines of Napa and Sonoma Valleys also inspired her. She took cooking classes at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in Napa.

“I have always had an appreciation for dining out and the creativity involved in serving memorable meals,” she says.

When her work brought her to Southern California, McFall says she found it didn’t matter where she lived and opted for Palm Desert.

“I began looking around for a restaurant,” she said.  “I knew I didn’t want to compete with the dinner houses which all do a great business.  But there was nothing around here for quality breakfast and lunch.”

Wilma & Frieda’s Café, 73575 El Paseo, The Gardens on El Paseo, Palm Desert. Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday, (760) 773-2807

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Where to Pick Up Winning Bites for Super Bowl Viewing at Home

Whether you tune-in to watch play-by-play, half-time entertainment, or the much-anticipated commercials, Super Bowl Sunday has everyone ready for some prime time eating.

Where There’s Smoke, There’s BBQ in Greater Palm Springs

Bring on the meat sweats. Here is a list of great bets for barbeque in the Coachella Valley.

Palm Springs Adds New Bars, Clubs to Start 2015

Just when you thought the festivities of the holiday season were over, three local bars recently opened to toast The New Year and inject some new excitement to the bar, lounge and club scene in downtown Palm Springs.

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.

dish Creative Cuisine Elevates Palm Springs Dining Scene

dish Creative Cuisine opened its doors to a sold-out dining room New Years Eve packed with loyal foodies who had been awaiting the opening of the restaurant in its new Uptown Design District location in Palm Springs.
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