Palm Springs, California, is celebrated for its Rat Pack–era architecture and notorious for its stuck-in-the-era-of-steak-and-béarnaise cuisine. But Tara Lazar and Marco Rossetti are quietly changing the city’s reputation for retro restaurants. Over the past few years, they’ve opened three places combining modern design, reasonable prices and fresh, local, incredibly good food: brunch-centric Cheeky’s, pizzeria Birba and Asian spot Jiao. All are on one block in the Uptown Design District, a once-gritty area the couple helped revitalize. “What’s really remarkable is that Tara is a Palm Springs native—there aren’t many people who grew up here who are doing something cool,” says designer Trina Turk, another Uptown pioneer.
Lazar and Rossetti opened Cheeky’s, their first place, in 2008. “I was looking for a career change,” says Lazar, who’d been working as a day trader. “I kept coming back to what I love—and what I love is breakfast.” Rossetti loves breakfast, too: “I’ll never find anyone whose blueberry-corn pancakes are better than yours,” he told Lazar when they exchanged wedding vows.
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They opened the boutique hotel the Alcazar with a similar design-driven-but-affordable style (rooms start at $69). “You really don’t need a lot of money to have fun in Palm Springs,” says Lazar. Read on for the couple’s insider’s guide to the city.