Portland’s iconic restaurant, Paley’s Place, will close after Thanksgiving
When explained to him why he moved to Oregon, Vitaly Paley likes to tell a story: while working in a two Michelin star restaurant in France, he came across a magnificent basket of morels. He marveled at them, turning them in his hands. He asked someone where they were from and the chef said, “Oregon”. This brought Paley back to the United States, eventually to Portland, and inspired him and his wife, Kimberly Paley, to open his restaurant, Paley’s Place, in a quiet corner of northwest Portland in 1995. Our interest, ”he said in an interview in 2018.“ At that point the writing on the wall was there – we were going to Oregon. ”
Paley’s Place, alongside restaurants like Wildwood, has helped shape what we think of as Pacific Northwest dining. The chef took years of French training and applied it to the produce and meat raised here, developing relationships with the farmers who haloed the city. This earned him a James Beard Award in 2005, a book contract and a place on Iron Chef America – that he won.
But Paley’s Place will close permanently after the Thanksgiving service, when the couple retire and sell the quaint home-turned restaurant. The closure punctuates a series of Paley Hospitality restaurant closures over the past two years.
It’s hard to overstate the impact Paley’s Place has had on the local food scene. Famous Portland chefs often spent at least some time in the kitchen at Paley’s Place, whether it was Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon), Kristen Murray (Maurice) or Ben Bettinger (Laurelhurst Market). Vitaly Paley championed the use of local mushrooms – including morels – and seafood from the Oregon coast, and also brought to Portland a style of French cuisine that remains some of the best in town. , pouring Oregon pinot noir alongside lobes of foie gras or foie gras. Bordelaise snail. Kimberly Paley delivered a style of service – warm but professional, familiar yet caring – that eventually became the norm in Portland’s fine dining restaurants. And, while many restaurants eventually stagnate over time, Paley’s has never stopped evolving: in recent years, the Paleys have introduced more Slavic dishes to the menu, a nod to the legacy of Vitaly Paley, and even hosted a vodka and dumpling pop-up at the restaurant. .
At the start of the pandemic, Paley Hospitality ran several restaurants in downtown Portland hotels, including Rosa Rosa, Headwaters, Imperial and the Crown. So when tourism stopped and the dining halls closed, the Paleys were hit hard. “Money has crept in steadily since the time we closed,” Vitaly Paley said in an interview in 2020. “It didn’t take tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands of dollars just to close. ” As a result, the couple slowly but steadily began to shut down all downtown restaurants, leaving only Paley’s Place in northwest Portland. “The closure of our downtown properties has really touched us both,” says Vitaly Paley. “We felt like we needed to get what we could, and Paley’s was our safety blanket, it was a place we found comfort, it was my greatest joy to be in my own kitchen again. and cook. ”
The restaurant offered a number of different styles of service, including take-out and pantry staples dubbed “Paley’s at Your Place”. The restaurant has reopened for service on its front porch and dining room, though the chef has narrowed down the menu to more casual fare, in addition to all-time legends: snails, foie gras, American wagyu beef tartare. However, after nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paleys feel ready to say goodbye to the service industry, including their flagship restaurant. “We rose from their ashes when COVID hit, and we didn’t get out of the woods,” Paley said. “The face of hospitality has changed, and I don’t know if I want to be a part of it anymore … Physically and emotionally, we just need to take care of ourselves a little more.”
The restaurant will continue its regular dinner service until Thanksgiving weekend, after which the restaurant will close and the couple will prepare the space for sale. “I hope we are leaving behind a great legacy that I hope has shaped what food is like in Portland today. Kimberly and I are so proud to be a part of it, ”says Vitaly Paley. “We hope to pass the restaurant and the building into the capable hands of someone else to continue the legacy.”
Updated Oct 4, 2021 5:32 PM: This story has been updated to include Vitaly Paley’s commentary.
• Paley Square [Official]
• After 26 years in Northwest Portland, Paley’s Place is closing its doors [O]
• Previous coverage of Paley’s Place [EPDX]