Shields Date Gardens

Californian | Candy Shop | Health Food | Roadside Stand | Vegetarian
One of the best

It is so strange and delightful to come upon Shields Date Gardens on Highway 111 in the midst of the development that has turned the Coachella Valley into a golf/resort/retirement paradise. The vintage roadside attraction doesn’t seem to have changed in decades, hearkening back to a time when the California desert was as exotic-seeming as Araby.

Located alongside a grove of stately palm trees, Shields is an airy showroom for dates and date products available by mail order. These include spectacularly sweet and creamy Super Jumbo Royal Medjools, deglets (semi-dry, smaller dates), date bits (like you’d get in trail mix), and date crystals, which are dried date bits suitable for cooking (a Shield’s invention). All these things are on display and available to buy and eat immediately. Also on sale are strips of photographic slides that show attractions of the California desert, booklets that sing of the glories of the dates that Floyd and Bess Shields began to cultivate and sell in 1924, and other assorted desert souvenirs. For free, you can step into a small theater to the side of the showroom and enjoy a film titled ‘The Romance and Sex Life of the Date,’ which explains the life cycle of what the narrator describes as “the least understood of all fruits.”

There are a few old wooden booths in the showroom, where visitors can sit and enjoy the two prepared foods available at the counter: date ice cream and date shakes. The former is vanilla ice cream laced with shreds of date, making it ultra-rich; the latter is a thick, date-flavored milk shake that is super sweet and as rich as butter – one of the culinary triumphs of old California.

Behind the old front room is a sit-down cafe with a menu that includes date items (jalapeno & cheese-stuffed dates, dateburgers, date pancakes) but is more focused on such Mexican specialties as chilaquiles for breakfast and tacos or nachos for lunch. As retro as Shields Date Gardens is up front, this cafe has a modern mien, offering hormone and antibiotic-free beef, free-range chicken, and freshly-baked bread free of preservatives and additives. Breakfast includes a “fit omelet” made of egg whites and lunch features such nutritionally enlightened items as a summer berry salad and a portobello “burger.”

What to Eat
Shields Date Gardens, Date Shake
Date Shake
Date crystals make a Shields date shake more granular than chunky.
Shields Date Gardens, Date Ice Cream
Date Ice Cream
Though not as powerfully sweet as the date shake, just one scoop of date ice cream should be enough to satisfy most sweet tooths.
Shields Date Gardens, Dates
Jumbo Medjools: the richest fruit on earth.
Shields Date Gardens, Date Pancakes
Date Pancakes
Date pancakes feature dates in the batter, dates on top, and a cup of date butter (lower right).
Shields Date Gardens, Chilaquiles
Chilaquiles are spicy enough that a cool date shake makes a most welcome companion.
Directions and Hours
open now
Sunday8am - 3pm
Monday8am - 3pm
Tuesday8am - 3pm
Wednesday8am - 3pm
Thursday8am - 3pm
Friday8am - 3pm
Saturday8am - 3pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
6 stops | 152 MILES | 3 hr 3 min

Making the drive from L.A. to Palm Springs? Here's where to find the best local, authentic eats along the way, plus where to go once you arrive.

8 stops | 313 MILES | 5 hr 21 min

Road Trip Overview

This 5.5 hour road trip will take you over a total of 312 miles from the chaotic fast paced streets of Las Vegas to the relaxed town of Palm Springs just next to Joshua Tree National Park. With 3 fantastic restaurants in Las Vegas and another 5 in and around Palm Springs,…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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