About Wally's Desert Turtle
When Wally Botello, founder of the famed fine-dining chain “The Velvet Turtle,” moved to the Coachella Valley, he aspired to open a sophisticated new restaurant. He envisioned his final overture would pay homage to his previous establishment and carry his namesake—creating the iconic Wally’s Desert Turtle. During the planning stages, he sought the assistance of renowned designer Steven Chase, who frequently appeared in publications such as Architectural Digest, to render an elegant dining room with a timeless design. Chase’s masterful innovation blended contemporary and antique furnishings with accents of artwork collected worldwide. It is our privilege to have much of the decor still present today.
Wally’s Desert Turtle’s destiny was to become a quintessential five-star dining experience. With servers anticipating every guests’ needs while they relax and enjoy an evening of indulgence. Our classically trained original French Chef, Jean-Louis Jalouneix, tantalized their taste buds by creating a delectable menu. The Dover Sole, mushroom soup, and signature soufflés soon became known as Wally’s Classics and continue their popularity among our patrons today.
Following Wally's passing in 1985, his son Michael Botello carried on his father's legacy, guiding the establishment to become a cherished valley institution. Over the past forty-five years, we've had the honor of hosting numerous celebrities, world dignitaries, and esteemed guests, including Bob and Dolores Hope, Frank Sinatra, President Gerald R. and Mrs. Betty Ford, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Tom Hanks.
We're thrilled to announce that the third generation is now leading the way, with Michael's daughter, Madalyn Botello, at the helm of the family dynasty. Madalyn continues to serve our valued friends and introduces a new generation of guests to our beloved restaurant, ensuring the tradition lives on.