Hubka’s 3 Desert Eateries Are Beloved by Locals and Visitors Alike
The Greater Palm Springs foodie community has a coin toss to thank for bringing restaurateur Andie Hubka and her three beloved (and vastly different) dining concepts into the local culinary fold. Had the odds not turned in their favor, Hubka’s trifecta of eateries (Cork & Fork, Heirloom Craft Kitchen and Tu Madres Cantina & Grill) might have become dining destinations on the Hawaiian islands instead of the desert hot spots they are today. Hubka and her husband chose Indio to build their brand, and if they hadn’t, the Coachella Valley might be a much hungrier place.
Hubka’s love of entertaining and the proverbial breaking of bread began at an early age. Growing up in Los Angeles, she spent time visiting her grandparents in Rancho Mirage. Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were gourmet cooks—the former known for her legendary dinner parties; the latter for running a catering business and serving up private meals for Liberace.
After choosing to swap her legal education for culinary pursuits, Hubka began catering, which led to a five-year stint in corporate training for restaurant groups and ultimately, the decision to open Cooking With Class—the first adult-education culinary school in the Coachella Valley— offering fun, recreational cooking classes. Hubka fell in love with teaching, and when the space next door became available, she began to consider opening a restaurant of her own.
“There were no small-plate restaurants in the Coachella Valley,” explains Hubka. “No wine bars, no eclectic menus. There were only steakhouses, Mexican restaurants and fine dining. I was known for doing these fun wine and food pairings and formal wine dinners where we’d mix international cuisines and try wines from around the world at an affordable price.”
Thus, the concept for Cork & Fork was born.
The contemporary wine bar’s unique menu features a creative array of mix-and-match small plates with a robust wine list—and perfect pairing suggestions, for a choose-your-own-adventure type of dining experience.
“I like doing comfort food with a twist by adding interesting multi-cultural ingredients to make it unexpected,” says Hubka. “We have a dish called ahi nachos, but instead of chips we use wontons, and instead of cheese, it’s Togarashi aioli sauce. We’ll do a truffle popcorn, and right next to that we’ll have a Korean Banh Mi braised pork belly slider. They have nothing to do with each other, but it doesn’t matter.”
In 2017, Hubka and her husband decided to try something new. After witnessing the explosion of the vegan movement (but not seeing it represented in the Palm Springs culinary scene), they decided to open Heirloom Craft Kitchen—a hybrid vegan concept, catering to a flexitarian audience.
“We call it ‘Real Good Food,’” says Hubka. “It’s farm-to-table comfort food, made from scratch, that you can feel good about whether you’re vegan or not. In fact, our shirts say ‘vegan-ish’ on the back.”
Soon enough, a nearby space became available once again, which got the wheels turning for a new addition—this time, an innovative Mexican concept called Tu Madres Cantina & Grill.
Diverging from the traditional Mexican fare commonly found south of the border, Hubka had been spending time in Baja and wanted to capture the essence of the Guadalupe Valley in flavor and spirit—while cultivating an appreciation for Tequila tasting.
While all three restaurants are decidedly different in concept and design, it’s Hubka’s dedication to authentic hospitality and her love of entertaining that remains constant. She’s cognizant of how the pandemic has shaped the culinary landscape and the financial hit that it’s taken on the community. With that in mind, she developed a six-course chef’s tasting menu for two at $100; this way, her guests can try as many dishes as possible.
“I don’t want people to feel like they have to spend a lot of money to have an amazing dining experience,” Hubka says. “It should be accessible for everyone.”
Up next? Cork & Fork is getting a glow-up! The restaurant is being upgraded and relocated with a whole new sensory experience.
“We went really modern and upscale to make it feel like a supper club,” Hubka says. “Everything from the cocktails to the gold flatware and the lighting—we’re trying to evoke a feeling of a sexy night out.”
A private membership called The Reserve Club is their latest project—“like a clubhouse for people who love to eat and drink wine,” Hubka explains, which will offer tasting menus and organized trips to culinary destinations like Italy and Mexico.
Through it all, the appreciation of a loyal clientele is what keeps Hubka creating and innovating–while continuing to shape the culinary desert landscape.
“We don’t cut any corners,” Hubka explains. “People know that they’re going to get really good food and really good service. It’s going to be a beautiful atmosphere; it’s going to be super clean. They trust us. And we take that really seriously.”