The Spaghetti Western Saloon

Joshua Tree residents and Roman transplants Jasmine and Lorenzo Tomasso have resurrected the Willie Boy’s building in Morongo Valley – the Spaghetti Western Saloon on the main drag that is the 29 Palms Highway just opened a few weeks ago and is already packing them in.

The space is a Yellowstone fan’s wildest dream, with two bars, a pool room full of tables, a rambling dining room with a fireplace and a stage with live music featuring, among others, Lorenzo on guitar and Jasmine singing.

A limited opening menu that will continue to evolve is inspired by the couple’s Italian roots. Jasmine grew up in the countryside outside of Rome in the small town of Casali di Mentana. Famed Italian composer and conductor Ennio Morricone was her neighbor and sparked the singer’s love of music from a young age. Husband Lorenzo grew up in Trastevere, in the same neighborhood as Sergio Leone. The pair bonded over a shared  infatuation with music and spaghetti westerns, which is lovingly obvious in the care and detail of the saloon.

Starters include pizzetta Romana, Roman-style mini puff pastry pizzas as well as seasonal salads and soups like butternut squash with local Joshua Tree sage and pink peppercorns. The signature Spaghetti Western pasta is a comforting bowl of smoked pepper bacon, San Marzano tomato sauce and Pecorino Romano. There are also vegan options like mushroom risotto.   

But what will really make your spurs sparkle is the 12-ounce ribeye alongside a pile of roasted rosemary potatoes that only sets you back $35. The skillet brownie a la mode is under $10 as are most of the cocktails, beers and wines (which also come in half and full carafes). The $12 Redwood Rattlesnake is a mix of Redwood Empire Rye Whiskey, maple syrup, bitters and lemon. The prices and portions are a welcome relief and designed to stay reasonable for the local Morongo Valley residents, a stark contrast to the dinner bills on the other side of the 10 freeway.

Music and a strong sense of community fill the 7,000-square-foot space, a much-appreciated and needed culinary addition to the neighborhood. Folks sit around the fire in the lounge dissecting the season five finale of Yellowstone while a piano plays in the background. Various musical acts and events are planned for the saloon, including spaghetti western movie nights.  

The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, it’s first come first served, so get in early.

Hours: Thurs 4-9 p.m. Fri 4-10 p.m. Sat 4-10 p.m. Sun 4-9 p.m. 

50048 29 Palms Hwy, Morongo Valley 

(Just look for the pastel buffalo on the roof, you can’t miss it.)

First appeared in LA Weekly

Michele Stueven