Inside Alice B., the vibrant Palm Springs restaurant of icons Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken

Credit: Alice B.
Several plates of food on a white marble table, including a toasted bagel and smoked salmon

Legendary Los Angeles chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken are household names for their mastery of Mexican food—but in December last year they decided to branch out in more ways than one by opening a restaurant in Palm Springs.

Alice B., named for LGBTQ icon and writer Alice B. Toklas, is in a luxury community for LGBTQ seniors called Living Out (but open to all diners), and unlike their other restaurants, you won’t find a single serving of guacamole on the menu.

“We’ve been known for Mexican food for so long, but our first restaurant, City [in Los Angeles], which actually put us on the map, was not,” Milliken says. “It was about food from all over the world, and we wanted Alice B. to be a different version of that.”

Plus, Living Out’s mission particularly called to Feniger, who’s been a co-chair (for four years) and a board member of the Los Angeles LGBT Center for several years now.

“The whole point in creating Living Out was for it to be a place where the LGBTQ community and their allies would feel welcome, safe, and comfortable,” Feniger says. “Many residents come from a time when you had to be in the closet. Here, they can go downstairs with their partner or by themselves and just feel welcome.”

For Pride Month, we’re taking a look at what makes Alice B. a vital addition to the Palm Springs dining scene.

What to eat

Dishes like this seeded chicken with an apple-radish salad star on the menu. | Credit: Alice B.

To create a menu more geared toward the Living Out restaurants, Feniger and Milliken tapped Gary Danko alum and Food & Wine’s 1996 best new chef Lance Velasquez. “Lance’s menu definitely follows the Mediterranean diet,” Milliken says. “The food is good for your body but super tasty and very vegetable-forward.” 

That means you’ll find dishes like hamachi crudo with pickled kumquats, fava-bean hummus with housemade bread, and seeded chicken with an apple-radish salad. There’s also a bar menu from 4 pm that has a grass-fed chuck burger on an English muffin and a chopped salad with salami and pepperoncini. “We wanted the bar to feel really lively and have a good vibe,” Feniger says, adding that there’s a jazz pianist on Friday and Saturday nights.

Alice B. recently launched brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. “The biscuits are so popular,” Feninger says of the dish that’s become an instant brunch-time hit.

What to drink

Alice B.’s drink complement Palm Springs’s climate. | Credit: Alice B.

Unlike the margaritas and mezcal-based cocktails at their other restaurants, drinks at Alice B. complement the dry desert climate of Palm Springs. “We have a manhattan called Gertie’s Perfect Date that’s inspired by the desert,” Milliken says. “Dates are everywhere, so we infuse the bourbon with dates.” 

Other cocktails you should consider include a refreshing Aperol spritz with freshly squeezed orange juice and a Hemingway daiquiri.

The wine list, meanwhile, has “little gems from France that match the level of the food,” Feniger says. Rounding out the list are selections from Italy, California, and, yes, even a handful from Mexico.

Where to sit

You’ll find relaxed steakhouse vibes at this Palm Springs restaurant. | Credit: Alice B.

Alice B. is a lot more playful than Feniger and Milliken’s other restaurants. “[It’s] a romantic but comfortable steakhouse vibe,” Feniger says. You’ll find neutral tones and cool blues in the dining room that’s marked by two large portraits of Alice B. Toklas and her partner and famed writer Gertrude Stein (all of the artwork in the restaurant is done by LGBTQ artists). 

Cozy midcentury-style chairs line marble-topped tables both big and small, and being as this is Palm Springs, you’ll see stunning views of the surrounding mountains as you sit back to enjoy your meal.

When to go

Alice B. marks the first Palm Springs restaurant for Mary Sue Milliken (left) and Susan Feniger (right), and they’ve brought on Gary Danko alum Lance Velasquez (center) to lead the kitchen. | Credit: Alice B.

The newly launched brunch is an especially exciting time to visit, and it’s on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm. The restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday for dinner from 4 pm to 10 pm.

Karen Palmer is a pizza- and pasta-obsessed food writer based in Los Angeles. She is the former editorial director of Tasting Table, and her work has appeared in Eater, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and many other publications. Follow her on Instagram at @karenlpalmer.

Find your table for any occasion