Favorites at Wilma & Frieda.
PHOTO BY JOHN PASCAL
A go-to brunch spot since it opened on El Paseo in Palm Desert a decade ago, Wilma & Frieda continues to attract patrons with a menu of “childhood favorites with a grown-up flavor profile,” shares co-owner Kelly McFall, who conceptualized the elevated eatery with her brother, Kreg Alexander.
The restaurant is named after their two grandmothers — on their maternal side, Wilma is remembered for her Southern comfort cooking and retro cat-eye frames, while paternal grandmother Frieda could whip up a perfect dinner party at a moment’s notice. Their legacies marry with a farmhouse atmosphere and vintage family recipes that, as McFall puts it, are mostly homemade and always foodie friendly.
The Wilma & Frieda team.
PHOTO BY CLARK AND VALENTINE
Among the most popular items is the signature griddled meatloaf, prepared with Ritz crackers and onion soup mix (a trick they borrowed from Wilma). Benedicts are beyond basic with ingredients like short rib, Duroc pork, or tomato and avocado, all with housemade hollandaise. On the sweet side, the blackberry custard French toast is so decadent, it’s almost like bread pudding. There’s also a banana-caramel variation and a cinnamon-sugar-crusted churro waffle topped with vanilla crème anglaise.
Of course, like any great brunch spot, leafy salads, sandwiches, and gourmet burgers round out the offerings. And you may luck out with off-menu specials like scallops or proscuitto-wrapped shrimp.
It’s no surprise this Coachella Valley staple has appeared on the Food Network four times, including in Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Big Food Bucket List. The spacious downtown Palm Springs location is also open for dinner and hosts special events like bingo and supper club nights.