A popular all-day eatery at The River in Rancho Mirage is becoming a hotbed of political activity, serving as the stage for candidates’ fundraising efforts on both the local and statewide level.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, Acqua California Bistro will serve as the backdrop for what is being billed as “Brunch with the Stars.” It is a fundraiser for Joy Silver who is running for 28th state Senate District. The Democrat is challenging Republican incumbent Jeff Stone.


Joy Silver

“It’s such a beautiful location, and the Keller’s are wonderful people,” Silver said.

Silver’s fundraiser will draw national leaders in the Democratic Party, including former U.S. Sen. and Rancho Mirage resident Barbara Boxer and Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz, giving the bistro a high profile.

The following day, Jan. 22, the Committee to Elect Kate Spates will host a kick-off event at 7 p.m. at the restaurant, which opened in July 2017. That won’t be her only brush with the restaurant. Spates, who is seeking a seat on the five-member Rancho Mirage City Council, also intends to have breakfast at Acqua once a week.

Spates told Uken Report she will be at Acqua California Bistro every Tuesday throughout the campaign (exception February 20 will be moved to February 22).

“I started this Tuesday at 9:30 and saw a few people, but may make it earlier (they open at 8 a.m.) to make sure I can see the people who need to be at work by 9,” Spates said.

Bistro Serves Up Political Activity

Kate Spates

“I chose Acqua because it’s very centrally located and a popular place with a beautiful patio setting. I have many regular spots around town that I frequent but I wanted to be consistent for the purpose of reaching people and hearing their concerns on a regular basis,” Spates said. “I am continually amazed that as soon as I tell people that I am running they instantly tell me their thoughts, concerns, and things they love about our town. It’s this reason that I wanted to make sure I gave an opportunity to anybody who wanted to share their ideas, concerns, and comments about how things are going in Rancho Mirage and how I can serve the residents of Rancho Mirage.”

Acqua took over the spot previously occupied by BB’s at The River, which closed its doors in summer 2016, and expanded its inside and outdoor seating by taking over the space next door and building a waterfront patio. The restaurant can accommodate about 500 guests, according to a news release.

The restaurant’s facade is decorated with an art installation made by local artists Tony and Karen Barone called “Forks on Their Way to Nirvana,” an installation of oversized forks that can be seen from Highway 111 and provides a unique pop of color at The River.

Jerry and Barbara Keller’s bistro is like going home for them. The bistro’s location, 71-800 Highway 111, is the same place they once housed their eatery, Acqua Pazza.

“We’re simply thrilled to be returning to Rancho Mirage,” said Jerry Keller, creator of Acqua and Lulu California Bistro, in a news release when it opened. “Time and again over the past three years, our loyal guests have been asking Barbara and me to return to Rancho Mirage, and the Keller family is so happy to be back with this new restaurant and an amazing menu.”