With the pandemic, many local restaurants have been forced to adapt or close their doors.
One local restaurant, Wally’s Desert Turtle, is going above and beyond to make sure customers can have an enjoyable, cool, outdoor experience.
Wally’s Desert Turtle is a family-owned restaurant in Rancho Mirage located right off of highway 111.
“We’ve been here for 43 years. My grandfather opened the restaurant,” said Madalyn Bottello, co-owner, Wally’s Desert Turtle.
Botello says until now, they’ve been doing take out orders only. They say they’ve stayed open thanks to loyal customers as well as the “Great Plates” program, a program offered statewide where restaurants are paid to deliver their food to at-risk seniors in the community.
“It’s really been a fantastic program to help stimulate our business during the times we couldn’t open,” said Botello.
Family owners Michael Botello, his wife and their daughter Madalyn, say they wanted to offer outdoor dining but the extreme summer heat has been a challenge for all valley restaurant-owners.
“We understand that if you want to dine, you also want to be just a little bit cooler,” said Madalyn.
The family decided to get creative and convert their dining room into a climate controlled outdoor patio. “It’s a new beginning,” said Michael.
“We have already taken out these two windows and we are hoping to remove the other two,” said Madalyn.
She says they’ve removed windows, added increased ventilation and socially distanced all of their tables.
“Luckily we have air conditioning and a swamp cooler in this space we have two vents,” she said.
Madalyn says the outdoor transformation is ironically getting the restaurant back to its roots: “When my grandfather started, he did have this open as an outdoor lounge.”
The family announced on social media they’re officially opening the newly transformed patio space and welcoming guests back this Friday.
“We’ve had a great response...we’re ready for another great season,” added Michael Botello.