BBQ Craft Beers On Tap & A Good Sports Bar Make This A Good Lunch & Dinner Destination
You may not immediately think of going to Pechanga Resort & Casino for a meal while in Temecula – after all, there are wineries and the quaint Old Town – but don’t overlook it as a dining destination.
Pechanga has an incredible 11 restaurants and one is the kind of place where you can sit back away from the hot desert air, have a few cold beers from its nearly 20 taps of craft, sink your teeth into huge portions of beef from its BBQ smoker and look up at the many TVs – some of them huge screens – to watch sports. In fact, PubClub recommends this place as your Temecula go-to sports bar.
And this place is Kelsey’s, an American-fare bar with a Texas twist (maybe it’s the equivalent outside heat that caused Pechanga to choose the Lone Star State as its primary food theme).
First of all, the place is nice. And that nice is not in just Kelsey’s, but Pachanga as a whole. That sets the table, so to speak, for the restaurant. Or bar if you prefer, for Kelsey’s is both.
There’s seating “outside” (which is really inside the facility but outside the actual restaurant) and inside in front of the huge screens, but we opted to sit at the bar. It put us just that much closer to the beer!
The beer selection is overall fairly common to bars with a lot of taps – Firestone Walker, Stone, Lagunitas – but here’s the catch: there’s a few from San Diego crafters which are hard to get in L.A., and the beers rotate on a regular basis. So what you find one time is not something you’ll necessarily find another time. We had the Dead Guy Ale from Rogue Brewing, which was sensational and is brewed in Temecula.
Now about the food. While the BBQ smoker is the star Kelsey’s menu is practically as long as Pechanga’s casino floor. Heck, for starters there’s a dozen appetizers. We had the pork rinds ($6) and they come with a choice of three seasonings; they are light, crispy and tasty.
They also don’t fill you up too much, which is a good thing because the plates are huge. In fact, the BBQ is served on a kind of military-style tin tray.
We had the 12-ounce brisket and 12-ounce tri-tip and both are enough food to fill up a 10-gallon cowboy hat ($19.95 each). There’s also baby back ribs ($14.75 & $22.75), boneless short ribs ($14.25 & $19.25) and pulled pork ($13.25 & $17.25).
I had a report that the pulled pork is fantastic – next time! – but I just can’t pass up a brisket when I see it, and it proved to be near-perfectly moist, a must in a brisket. It’s not smothered in sauce, which is fine because it sure satisfied my BBQ desires for the day.
Nether it or the tri-tip will blow your socks off – hey, I’ve had Dreamland Ribs in Tuscaloosa so my BBQ palate is as finely tuned as Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide – but paired with those beers, you’ll be quite happy and content, no question.
We also had the pizza, the meat-lovers (at $13.75 a great price and it feeds two) tho the tri-tip or even short rib flat bread ($11.75) was mighty tempting. The flavors of the meats are great – this pizza particularly excels the next day and who doesn’t love cold pizza the next day!? – tho the dough is a bit soft for my particular pizza taste. A harder crust would take this pizza up another notch. Then again, maybe I should have gone with the flat bread.
Again – next time!
And with what remains on the menu, there may be a lot of next times. There’s a Phily Cheesescake sandwich ($13.75), pan seared salmon ($19.75), Jambalaya ($18.95), a 14-ounce rib eye ($36) and six burger choices ($11.75-$13.75).
The cornbread is so popular it’s now a side dish; people often dash in from the casino and get it to go they love it so much.
Oh, and beer-battered onion rings ($7.25). There are not many places in California that even serve onion rings!
Kelsey’s also has a great Happy Hour featuring $4 beers – all of ’em – and food from $6-8.
So roll in, roll back your eyes and get on a roll with the food, beers, atmosphere and sports at Kelsey’s in Pachanga.
Kelsey’s Pachanga Resort & Casino Restaurant Fast Facts
Atmosphere: Nice, casual dining in a classy atmosphere and sports bar
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-Midnight, Fridays and Saturdays
Happy Hour: M-F 3-6 p.m.
Drinks: Craft beers, wines & full cocktails
Address: 45000 Pechanga Pkwy, Temecula, CA