Many Palm Springs restaurants have a history that spans decades. Ruby’s Dunes, located at 238 N. Palm Canyon Drive, became one of the most famous celebrity hangouts.
The restaurant started out as Harry’s Pool Hall and Café in 1929, owned by Harry and Josephine Mutascio. In 1942, Irwin “Ruby” Rubinstein and Al Wertheimer purchased a sizable interest in the restaurant, which later became Ruby’s Dunes.
Prior to his partnership with Wertheimer, “Ruby” conducted the orchestra and his wife Connie sang at the Wertheimer’s Dunes Casino until it burned down. After Wertheimer’s conviction for tax evasion in 1942, Ruby and Connie took over the ownership of Ruby’s Dunes.
Rubinstein credited Frank Sinatra for the success of his restaurant, saying Ol’ Blue Eyes always encouraged his celebrity friends to join him for dinner and drinks. In a Desert Sun article, Rubinstein said that tourists and local residents loved to come in and see Sinatra and his friends gathered around the piano bar “singing for their supper.”
In 1969, Rubinstein announced the sale of the restaurant to Ben Silverstein, the owner of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
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There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 82 in 2020. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.
The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place corresponds with today.
For more information, visit pshistoricalsociety.org, or visit their location at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive.