Rio Azul has closed for good, due to an electrical issue that forced the restaurant to shut down on Feb. 3.

Rio Azul closes due to an electrical issue—and insurance denials

In early February, Rooster and the Pig and Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill were forced to close—during the busiest time of year—due to electrical issues in their building.

At the time, the restaurant owners said on social media that it would take at least three weeks for power to be restored. It took more than two months.

As a result, Rio Azul, at 350 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, has closed for good. In a heartbreaking social media video on May 16, owner Daniela Saenz said she and her father, chef Ernesto Gastelum, couldn’t afford to re-open, even though Rio Azul was properly insured. She explained that the insurance company would only consider income in recent years to determine the business’ loss—which included times during the pandemic when the restaurant was closed. In a subsequent video, she said the restaurant had been sold.

The news is a little better two doors down at Rooster and the Pig, at 356 S. Indian Canyon Drive: Owner Tai Spendley said in an Instagram comment that he was trying to rehire staff, with hopes of reopening in June.

We’re heartbroken about the fate of Rio Azul—but are relieved that Rooster and the Pig will apparently reopen. Watch for updates on the latter.

It’s Restaurant Week time!

Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week will return June 2-11 for its 15th year. More than 80 restaurants will offer special lunch and dinner prix-fixe menus.

Restaurant Week is a fantastic opportunity to finally visit some of those restaurants you have been meaning to try—or revisit old favorites that, for whatever reason, you haven’t been to in a while.

Find a complete list of participating restaurants at For every reservation booked through the site, $1 will be donated to FIND Food Bank—so you can do good while eating well!

The Summer Eats Pass will launch right after Restaurant Week; this free mobile app features more ways for locals and visitors to enjoy restaurants during the summer—because who wants to turn on the stove when it is 105 degrees outside? From June 12-Sept. 4, restaurants feature exclusive summer deals—and every time you dine out, you are entered in a weekly prize drawing.

Visit for details.

In Brief

Roly China Fusion, at 1107 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, has closed—temporarily, hopefully: The staff says they’re looking for both investors and a new home. Watch for updates. … Related: The PS Drag Brunch, formerly at Roly, has moved to the Saguaro Hotel, at 1800 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs; … T’s on the Green, at 36200 Date Palm Drive, in Cathedral City, has closed its doors and is up for sale, as announced by the owner on social media. … Congratulations to the Del Rey, located in the Villa Royale at 1620 S. Indian Trail, in Palm Springs, for being named one of the Top 10 Hotel Bars in the nation by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation! Details at … Chef Alen Badzak, formally of the Purple Room, has taken over Haus of Pizza, at 72795 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Good luck to former owner Iryna Pyle! Learn more at … Uncle Chai Thailand Street Food, in the Atrium at 69930 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage, is expanding its footprint and adding a new all-you-can-eat Thai-style hot pot (jim jum). I can’t wait to try it! The website is … Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs, at 401 E. Amado Drive, has launched a new dining experience featuring a cigar menu with 10 different types, allowing guests to smoke cigars while dining on the patio. They have suggested cocktail parings and introduced smoked ice cubes to the cocktail menu, too. The site is … Every Friday through June 9, Desert Hot Springs is hosting Friday Nights on Pierson, in an effort to bring people downtown. The event, at 11940 Palm Drive, features Coachella Valley food trucks including Uncle D’s Smokehouse, Birrieria Doña Emma and Papa Headz, as well as music and other activities. … Get your tickets for the inaugural Equality Wine Fest, happening June 30-July 2, featuring wines made by companies owned or managed by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC individuals, as well as women; … Chef Justin, from the gone-but-not-forgotten Justin Eat and Drink, has added wine and tapas offerings (from 2 to 8 p.m., Thursday through Sunday) at Beautiful Day, his breakfast and lunch restaurant at 50949 Washington St., in La Quinta. Get the details at … Chick Next Door, Glendale, Calif.’s “undisputed chicken slider expert,” has opened a second location at 46156 Dillon Road, in Coachella. Chef Steven Velichnian creates sliders and tenders at six different heat levels from “Country” to “Don’t Chicken Out.” Get the menu at … New to Palm Desert: Restaurante Los Primos, at 73030 El Paseo, serving an eclectic mix of food for breakfast and lunch; call 442-282-1148 with queries.

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Charles Drabkin

Charles Drabkin is a native of McMinnville, Ore., the heart of the Oregon Wine Country, where the relationship between food and people was instilled in him at an early age. After working his way around...

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