I am always hungry and I love to eat. But let’s be honest. Sometimes I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to cook, I don’t even want to THINK about what will nourish me. And now, on nights like those, I let someone else do the culinary thinking and head on to the newly opened Cello’s Pantry on Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because husband-and-wife dynamic duo Tom Stefernak and Bonnie Barkley have been running Cello’s Bistro in Cathedral City to great acclaim for the last few years. But while the original restaurant was strictly fine dining, the new outpost is of the gourmet grab-and-go variety. One of the most attractive things on the menu is the $20 take-out dinner for two that comes replete with soup or salad, entrée, starch, vegetable, and dessert. For $10 (or under) you can add Bonnie and Tom’s choice of wine pairing. And so as to not bore the beurre blanc out of its clientele, Cello’s Pantry changes this tantalizing têtê-à-têtê offering weekly. “We realized, people need this,” says Bonnie. “There are regulars we feed five to seven nights a week, but sometimes they just want to stay home and cuddle up on the sofa in their pajamas.”
Not that take-out dinner is the only reason to patronize Cello’s Pantry. There’s plenty of other breakfast, lunch, and dinner options available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. I’m talking a full range of wines, cheeses, olives, quiches, sandwiches, and gourmet deli proteins, salads, and sides. Not to mention freshly baked sweet treats, a coffee bar, an extensive sampling of food-and-wine-related gifts, and a full-service catering operation on site. For those who insist on cooking at home themselves, there’s even a wide array of food preparation paraphernalia and ingredients such as pastas, soups, sauces, oils, and dressings.
Hungry yet? For a preview of weekly grab-and-go dinners available through the rest of this year, or to find out more about Tom and Bonnie’s latest brainchild, visit www.cellospantry.com. And when you show up in person to delight your tastebuds, tell them Diana sent you.