A long-running downtown San Francisco restaurant will serve its final plates today, Thursday, November 28. Piperade, the Basque restaurant located at 1015 Battery Street on the Embarcadero, is closing after more than 20 years in business.
Chef and owner Gerald Hirigoyen, who runs the restaurant alongside his wife Cameron Hirigoyen, says the restaurant’s closure has little to do with the impacts of the pandemic or the struggles facing many businesses in San Francisco’s downtown. “Why [is the restaurant closing]? Because I’m old,” Hirigoyen says with a laugh. “I want to retire, and now is the time. It’s not that complicated.”
Still, the restaurant’s closure and the chef’s retirement will leave a hole in the local dining scene. Hirigoyen has been a part of the San Francisco restaurant community for decades, having arrived in the city after leaving his home country of France. He opened his first French bistro Fringale in 1991 (it closed in 2020) in SoMa, which earned Hirigoyen and then-business partner Jean-Baptise Lorda credit as pioneers in the then-quiet neighborhood. Hirigoyen went on to open Pastis in 1996, “before renovating the space to create Piperade with Cameron in 2002,” per the Piperade website.
Over the years, Hirigoyen has collected numerous accolades including being nominated for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef California award in 2006 and being recognized as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in 1994.
Hirigoyen says he announced Piperade’s impending closure at the beginning of this year in order to give the restaurant’s regulars and fans plenty of time to squeeze in for a final visit. The last few weeks have been “off the charts,” the chef says, and the restaurant is fully booked for its final night of service.
As he prepped for the final evenings at the restaurant, Hirigoyen had nothing but gratitude to express for the city. “I’m really thankful for this city,” he says. “This city gave me a lot. I’ve been very blessed to have such success — however you measure success. I’m retiring very happy. It’s been really sensational to be a part of this vibrant city. I met great people, I drank a lot of great wines, and I got to do things I never thought I’d do.”
Piperade (1015 Battery Street, San Francisco) closes today, Thursday, November 30.