Where in the entire United States is the best place to eat? Well, according to Yelp in 2018 the answer is in Indio, California, which is where I happen to be located right now.
Indio is in the Coachella Valley, anchored on the western end by Palm Springs. It is on Interstate 10, and it is the last significant stop on the 4 hour drive east to the Phoenix Arizona area. Indio is best known for being the home of the Coachella Music Festival each spring, attracting over 100,000 music goers each day over two weekends.
The restaurant I am talking about is not located where you would expect the best restaurant in America to be located. It sits in an industrial area, littered with warehouses. It sits in a no man’s area, not even close to the center of the community, nor close to any residential homes, nor close to any shopping center, nor close to any other eating establishments.
Rather, the closest major landmarks to the restaurant are the tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad,
Interstate Highway (I-10), and a huge drainage channel or wash.
In the desert, a wash is a dry sand channel or riverbed for some 364 days a year, but is designed to handle the one or two days a year when a sudden and unusual rainfall sends water rushing down this wide flood control riverbed. Bottom line, this restaurant is not in a convenient spot. It is literally a hole in the wall.
The restaurant I am talking about is named TKB, which stands for The Kid’s Business. Mom and Dad brought the three kids into the business at a young age and have gradually turned its operation over to them. originally started in the early 1990’s they have gradually built an unbelievably loyal following. With over 4,000 reviews on Yelp, this 5 star restaurant is best known for its sandwiches and its pastries. I had the chance to meet Athena Sippel, the mom, the other day, and she could not have been more accommodating, responsive and genuinely nice.
My favorite is the Albacore Tuna Salad sandwich. It includes tuna, provolone, mustard, mayo, lettuce and tomatoes. You have your choice of a wide assortment of bread options, including jalapeno focaccia bread among others. I always have my tuna salad sandwich on keto crisp. The portions are huge. Rarely can I finish a full sandwich at one sitting. Usually I am saving one half of the sandwich for a later time that day or the next.
These sandwiches are to die for. They are the best sandwiches I have ever had by far. Not even close to anything else.
There is so much more to the restaurant than the food. The parents, their kids and the story of how this got started. The parcel the restaurant sits on includes a fenced in dog park. How many restaurants do you know that provide their own dog park! But most of all, the staff of almost 50 are so wonderfully accommodating, friendly and responsive.
Did I mention the pastries. The walnut brownie is phenomenal.
Bottom line TKB is so unique. Its location, its history, its sandwiches, its pastries, its staff. More than 1,000 people each day find their way to TKB. People drive hundreds of miles to experience TKB’s food.
I can attest that TKB’s customers are extremely loyal.
3 thoughts on “the best restaurant in America”
Had their food several times 2009 to 2019ish. Always viewed it as a Deli. It was very good, but never thought it would get ranked up there so high, although in retrospect I can see why. Back then at least it was very good value for the $$ and it seemed to have a huge loyal following by local trades people. Gotta try it again when next in Indio! It was handy to stop in on the way to or from the Terra Lago or Eagle Falls Golf courses. Come to think of it perhaps it’s proximity to Fantasy Springs Casino might partly contribute to its success.
Nice to see local food vendor doing well and having survived the Pandemic, unlike many favourites of ours in the desert that have faded away like Lord Fletchers (google it). We really enjoyed dining there. It had been around for a half century before COVID did it in. It was one of Frank Sinatra’s favourite haunts.. Once after golfing I went in at 5:00pm opening time to have a cocktail at the bar (which only had a half dozen bar stools) while awaiting Liz and our guests.
To my amazement there was already an elderly (possibly in her 90’s) well turned out lady sitting there with a drink in front of her. Turns out she was a regular who came in for nostalgic reasons and they always let her in early. She began a conversation and it turns out she was a close friend of the Sinatra’s and somewhat of a local luminary. She regaled me with Sinatra stories for that hour that were priceless. She really opened up as she found me a particularly interesting audience because by flook just that week I had visited Sinatra’s grave with Liz and Pat Roman. We had just toured Sunnylands (the Annenberg Estate where Obama and many world leaders have stayed and conferenced at) where Frank & Barbara were married and she had attended that wedding.
I informed her that Melvyn’s in Palm Springs was another favourite restaurant of ours. Well that provided fodder for more stories as she had attended Frank’s engagement party there too.
Full disclosure, I was not ever a big fan of Sinatra’s but spending winters in the valley one could not have run into Sinatra lore. Serendipitous moments happen to all of us over the course of a lifetime. The most fun hour spent by me in a bar—ever!
Can hardly wait to have lunch with you there.
Watch out, though! This place is addicting. After just one sandwich, I couldn’t get this place out of my mind. It was my first stop after returning to So Cal after our summer away. Ok, I’m getting a craving again right now! I have trouble remembering acronyms (being dyslexic) …so, once I found out the name was TKB (The Kids’ Bakery)….it finally stuck. Oh, and my dog, Taco, loves the dog park there. :-)) Thank you, Neil, for introducing it to me!