Photography by Monocle Project
In 1952, MGM actor Don Castle and his wife Zetta built Castle’s Red Barn as a Palm Springs resort getaway for their Hollywood friends. After stints as different hotels over the years, the 20-room property was reimagined as Sparrows Lodge in 2013 following an extensive restoration that retained many of the original 1950s buildings while incorporating modern updates.
The most recent addition to the property is a full kitchen in order to accommodate The Barn Kitchen restaurant. Led by Chef Gabriel Woo (or “Chef Gabe” as most call him), The Barn Kitchen serves an inspired menu of sandwiches, salads and small bites daily until 6 p.m., including an excellent burger and a chicken salad sandwich that explodes with flavor (roasted chicken, avocado, bibb lettuce, tomato and spicy mustard on rustic sourdough).
“I like to keep it simple,” says Chef Gabe, “using ingredients sourced at the local farmers markets.” A delicious assortment of pickled, grilled and raw vegetables is served with house made green goddess dressing, and the seasonal fresh fruit with burrata is spot-on.
The hotel’s central barn, which does multi-duty as a dining area and lounge, also features a bar serving a curated selection of microbrews, wine, champagne and specialty drinks, including an excellent white sangria chock full of fresh fruit.
One of the hottest tickets in town is The Barn Kitchen’s family-style dinner, held on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. With just one seating and a limited number of reservations to ensure an intimate dining experience, the dinners feature a family style fixed menu of Chef Gabe’s choosing (chicken on Wednesdays and steak on Saturdays), priced at $45 per person. Past menus include fare such as roasted chicken with orzo and grilled vegetables, prime rib with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and coffee-crusted New York strip with asparagus.
1330 E. Palm Canyon Drive
Photography by Monocle Project for Palm Springs Style; may not be used without express permission