PALM DESERT, Calif. - A staple in the Palm Springs dining scene, Manhattan in the Desert has been serving loyal customers like Ruth Lustman for nearly a decade.
"This one is just great, I love coming through the doors," Lustman said. "Everybody's very happy because you're a family."
Fortunately for Lustman, she lives just around the corner from her favorite eatery. Others have to drive across the valley.
"A lot of our customers come from Sun City, Indio, you know way past Palm Desert," said general manager Kimberly Guzman.
But that won't be the case for long. The deli is set to open its second location on Highway 111 in Palm Desert this fall.
"The restaurants here in Palm Springs pull people from Palm Desert, but they feel, if I have them in both locations I'll have a bigger piece of the pie," said Bruce Bushore, a Coldwell Banker associate agent who worked on the Manhattan in the Desert transaction, as well as several others.
Next door, the former LG's Steakhouse, vacant since 2011, will transform into Japanese restaurant Shogun, a chain making its valley debut.
The two restaurants alone will employ about 500 people.
"Palm Desert seems to be an area that just continues to grow and grow," Guzman said.
Joining the list, two more valley restaurants opening new locations off the famed El Paseo shopping district.
Thai Smile of Rancho Mirage will take over Firecliff, and to the west Pueblo Viejo Grille will replace the former TGI Friday's.
The momentum to expand in Palm Desert was ignited by several factors: plenty of available restaurant space, a growing economy and a hungry demand.
"Tourism, you know people coming, the more exciting stuff to do the better restaurants you have, the more people will come year-round," Guzman said.
People like Lustman, who found a place that feels like home and she's more than happy to share it.
"The more the merrier," Lustman said.
Manhattan in the Desert is scheduled to open October 1, located at 74-225 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Shogun will open sometime in fall next door.
Pueblo Viejo Grille is scheduled to open November 1, located at 72-650 El Paseo.
Thai Smile El Paseo is scheduled to open before the end of the year, located at 73-725 El Paseo.
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