Acqua California Bistro – Q & A

Q & A – Barbara and Jerry Keller and interior designer Jeffrey Jurasky, share some insight about their new Acqua California Bistro at The River in Rancho Mirage


Q: What was your biggest fear or concern going into the project?

If it came true, how did it get resolved? If it didn’t, who is

responsible for making sure that didn’t happen?

B: My biggest apprehension was/is losing my husband to

another time consuming project!

Q: What did you know you did NOT have to worry about based on who you were working with?

B: Both Jerry and amazing COO, John Shay, are aware of

my concern and are doing all they can to allay my fears.

Q:  What is your favorite small detail about the new space?

B: I love the art from the Barone’s fabulous forks, to the

welcoming Marilyn with exquisite flowers in her hair, to Sy

Luckinbill’s vibrant, unique landscape to, of course, my

105-year-old Papa’s Walls including lively, radiant

hommages to the likes of Picasso and Lichtenstein.

Q:  Which item on the menu has the most interesting story

behind its creation?

B: A chef in Santa Fe and one in LA willingly gave us their

recipes for the gluten free quinoa stuffed acorn squash

and the LULU chips. Our Executive Chef, Arturo, re-created

a California Norwegian eggs benedict using ingredients

from a breakfast dish I described. Jerry and I saw cotton

candy served at a famous New York pricey restaurant

where it seemed out of place but I thought it belonged in

Lulu. Within weeks Jerry and Arturo bought a couple of

cotton candy machines at a restaurant show and Voila!

Q:  Who do you think the “regulars” at your new location will be? (not necessarily individuals, but perhaps a particular segment of  the Valley population)

B: I think mostly down valley people for whom a trip into

Palm Springs seems a bit long, Rancho Mirage, Palm

Desert and Cathedral City residents who have missed our

menu at the River location, and the staff of Eisenhower

Medical Center and of other businesses in the


Q: .Tell us about the moment you knew what you’d envisioned was really coming to life.

B: The light! I adore the new wall colors in white and

shades of gray and the spiraling geometric banquette

fabric in gray and black on white (thank you, Jeff

Jurassky) has great movement. The spirited sails of fabric

on the ceiling are so reminiscent of the Lucite components

on the ceiling of LULU. When I finally saw all this, I

became more patient. I was less interested in the

plumbing and electric!

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