Chef Peter Hemsley’s grand vision to bridge the restaurant and art worlds will come to an end — at least, for now — on Wednesday, February 15 when the chef closes his SoMa restaurant Palette. Located at 816 Folsom Street, the restaurant has endured a difficult four years since its inception including, of course, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic’s ravage brought a new perspective, and opened my eyes to other ways of working, other opportunities seen through the perverse lens of loss, and hope for a better future,” Hemsley says in a written statement to Eater SF.
Palette was originally set to open in Spring 2018, but when renovations of the restaurant’s space dragged on, Hemsley pivoted to roll out the restaurant in what he thought would be a temporary space. Four years later, it’s still the restaurant’s home, thanks in large part due to the ever-shifting circumstances brought on by the pandemic. Which is to say, the closure may not blindside those who’ve been paying attention. “For fans and supporters, it will perhaps be no surprise that Palette will be closing its doors on Wednesday, February 15, culminating four years of incredible evolution, from a pop-art cafe concept with a community-based art gallery program, in-house ceramics and retail shop, and eclectic food unhinged from traditional culinary pathways to a laser-focused fine-dining restaurant with a core interest on traceable seafood that it is now,” Hemsley says.
But Hemsley also says he’s not totally done. The chef says he’s “excited to lead the restaurant into a new era,” though details are sparse now about exactly what that might mean. Prior to embarking on the journey to opening the high-concept fine dining restaurant, Hemsley worked at restaurants including Quince and Alain Passard and used Palette as a platform to highlight local produce and traceable seafood including spot prawns, abalone, and oysters.
Palette will close after February 15; final reservations are available on the Palette website.