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Jackalope Ranch

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Did we zip off to Hawaii? No, but we enjoyed an evening at a not-so-new anymore desert restaurant: Jackaope Ranch in Indio. It opened in January, but it was new to us. This beautiful spot covers more than 6 acres, and cost 37 MILLION to build. It has quite a story.

A "jackalope" is an mythical animal of folklore which is a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope, goat or deer. There is actually a species of jackrabbit in the southwestern U.S. called the antelope jackrabbit, because of its ability to run fast, like an antelope. If you imagine antlers or horns, you would picture a jackalope.

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Don Callendar, of the Marie Callendar's restaurant chain, opened a restaurant called Babe's in 2002. It was quite a hit for BBQ ribs, chicken sausage and has a huge bronze pig in front.

Don dreamed of a new Southwestern, BBQ, steak restaurant in a spectacular setting with great food and wine, entertainment, a huge outdoor area, and gorgeous scenery.
He purchased land in West Indio, and a chain link fence went up while construction began. No detail was overlooked. The bronze artworks on the property (not counting the pigs) were sculpted from photos of his children. Waterfalls, huge trees, gorgeous light fixtures, flowers, wood railings, and fountains abound. The stone building is stunning by day and night.

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Unfortunately, during the last few months before completion, Don, then age 80, suffered a fall in his Newport Beach garden. He was in a coma for months, and died in January, 2008, the day Jackalope Ranch opened. The project was purchased by the Kaiser Restaurant Group.

Jackalope Ranch consists of a 21,000 square foot building on 6.4 acres. There is a beautiful entrance, a main dining room and bar, several banquet rooms and terraces, and game room, pie shop, take out area, Lucky's Saloon (Lucky is Don's son's name), waterfalls, a palapas bar, and fabulous artwork, inside and out.

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The light fixtures are memorable!

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We had an outside table on the busy terrace.

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The misters will keep you cool in hot weather.

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Our views weren't bad either!

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The menu includes a wide range of appetizers, such as smoked duck empanada, crab chile relleno, a variety of ceviches, pulled pork, tri tip, carne asada, seafood, steaks and ribs.

After a drink and "walking tour" of the property, we all started with salads.

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Our appetizers ( our dinner) included Steve's sliders, Fiona's ceveche, my chicken wings, and Brad's carne asada tacos.

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We had a great evening!

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I'm thinking this might be a good choice for our Friday night at next year's Desert GTG! Maybe on this little terrace...

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Directions? Easy... Just look for the pig!

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Comments (7)

Jo:

Hello, from Perry, GA. I love that you let us 'tag along' as you enjoy your part of this big world. Look forward to seeing you each day. Thanks!

Barb Cabot:

Palma, this places looks like so much fun. Thanks for the great review and photos. Wonderful.

Belva & Nicki:

Enjoy drinks and appetizers. Was quite surprized to find this lovely restaurant. We will recommend it to all our friends.

Thanks for complementing on the beauty of my dads restaurant.

Debbie Webb:

I am proud to say that my boss, Landscape Architect, Wayne Connor/ASLA, worked closely with Don Callender and a talented team to make Don's dream come true. It was over 4 years in the making and to think Don saw the vision for this sand to become this spectacular and unique restaurant and watering hole is amazing. I must admit after seeing it for the first time and getting back in my car and driving along Hwy 111, I started crying as I was so overwhelmed at it's beauty and so sad that Don sadly passed away before it opened...but he did see it! Everyone needs to take the time to walk the grounds to really appreciate all of its magic! Enjoy as I continue to with friends.

Charlie Lomartire:

Please inform me we didn't really look like that, dress prefer that, and dance like that? I swear I saw a guy who could pass for any sista, another Michael Jackson "don't stop til you will get enough" video clone, and Rhianna's mother (the chick together with her hair right down to her ass dancing in most sort of baby doll lingerie outfit). Oh that i'm sure I saw a Rick James wannabe in that room too. This all before 10 each morning!

Guy W Ginbey:

Hello Lucky !

I hope all is well with you ?

Loved your father...

Guy

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