Managing partner Patrick Service grew up working at Las Casuelas Original in Palm Springs. Now he steers the ship at sister restaurant Las Casuelas Terraza.
PHOTO BY CHRISTINA FRARY.
It’s hard to imagine that in 1979, locals were skeptical that the new Las Casuelas Terraza would succeed due to its location, then outside the town center. As the first restaurant offering patio-style dining in the area, it certainly didn’t help that Palm Springs received snowfall during their opening.
Now, 44 years later, the family-owned restaurant stands as one of the oldest, most beloved restaurants in town, thanks to its flavorful traditional recipes, live entertainment, and impressive tequila selection — as well as its location and expansive outdoor dining areas.
Patrick Service grew up working as a dishwasher and prep cook at his grandmother’s restaurant down the street, Las Casuelas Original, which opened in 1958. Today, he’s a managing partner for Las Casuelas Terraza, keeping his family’s traditions alive.
You serve family recipes. Who developed them?
Many of our recipes come from my great-grandmother, who cooked with the ingredients she had available as a single mother running a boarding house in Arizona. Our ground beef tacos are actually a draw for our regulars, as this isn’t something you’ll see on most menus. Our chile relleno also uses more of an egg-based batter and isn’t as chile-forward. Our refried beans, rice, enchilada sauce, chile Colorado, and pork chile verde are also spot on with how my great-grandmother made them a century ago.
What do you think guests absolutely have to try?
Definitely the Pescado a Las Brazas. It’s a kiss of mesquite smoke on a Baja sea bass, done in a very sustainable way. It’s perfectly rich and tangy. I’d recommend pairing it with either the El Diablo, a pre-Prohibition-era cocktail, or a skinny margarita.
Speaking of drinks, what do you recommend from the cocktail menu?
We have what we call our Tequila Hall of Fame, which features 150 offerings. We also have a variety of flights based on the various tequila zones of Mexico. With our cocktails and tequila offerings, we try to bridge the gap between traditional and modern.
We hear you throw a great Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Do tell.
Every year, we partner with Palm Springs High School for Cinco de Mayo. Palm Springs High School’s folklórico dancers will come in the afternoon and perform traditional cultural dances. We also partner with Mariachi Tesoro de Rebecca Gonzalez, a multicultural group of musicians that includes both men and women who perform traditional mariachi music. Mariachi Tesoro will perform from noon to 1 p.m., and again from 4:30 to 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., our regular house band will continue the celebration into the evening.