PORTLAND, Oregon — For more than 25 years, Paley's Place at 1204 Northwest 21st Avenue, has served customers hungry for farm-to-table cuisine. Now the restaurant that helped start Portland's food revolution, is preparing to close for good on November 27.
Owners, Chef Vitaly Paley and wife Kimberly, who oversees the front of the restaurant, announced they are retiring.
“Gratitude, such gratitude,” said Vitaly Paley. “It has been such a fantastic journey for us.”
Along the way, Vitaly won a prestigious James Beard award. He also won Iron Chef America and opened four other restaurants. From the beginning, the Paleys shaped their business model around using whatever local ingredients were in season.
“Looking back, did we have a crystal ball? Perhaps,” said Vitaly. “Did we want it to usher in a new generation of restaurants? No. We just wanted to cook good food from the source, where it came from, and be close to it. The fact that we had something to do with it, we're both very proud of it.”
When the pandemic hit, the Paleys, like most restaurant owners, struggled. They closed four of their five restaurants including Headwaters at The Heathman Hotel. Only Paley's Place, remained.
“We definitely got gutted by the pandemic, no doubt about it,” said Vitaly. “The hardest thing was to see our staff of at least 220 people or so be let go.”
The last 18 months have shown the Paleys what they wanted most in this season of their life: more time with each other.
“I almost feel selfish saying that and a little guilty for wanting to stop,” said Kimberly Paley. “But I look at Vitaly and we want to spend time with each other right now and let the youngins carry on.”
The Paleys said they recently put the old Victorian-style home that houses their restaurant on the market.
“We'll wait for whomever wants to take this on,” said Vitaly. “It's going to be important for us to pass it on into the right hands.”
For now, Vitaly and Kimberly will savor every moment of their last two months at Paley's Place. It appears customers will, too; reservations are booked solid.
“We'll make sure to go out and say hello and good-bye to everybody,” said the Paleys. “Thank you, Portland. To the greatest 26 years of our lives.”
Read the Paleys full statement:
Dear Friends and Family of Paley's Place,
We set down roots in Portland 26 years ago, and that time has been filled to the brim with happy memories. What first drew us to the Pacific Northwest was the stunning natural beauty and the overflowing regional bounty, but chief among it all was the generosity and kindness of people like you.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve you at Paley's Place for 26 years, and on that sky-high note, we have made the decision to close the restaurant at the end of this year.
The events of the last year and a half have given us all time to reflect on what's most important, and that was certainly true for us. This next chapter in our lives will be about the two of us, charting out a new life together, whatever that may be.
We have been so privileged to work alongside such incredible culinary talent, and to currently be a home to the dreamiest dream team of both front and back of house staff. We feel deep gratitude to you, our community, for your everlasting support and for sharing in the meals that bring us joy. You've given so much to us, and we are thankful to you all.
After our Thanksgiving weekend, the doors at Paley's will close.
With immense gratitude and warmth,
Kimberly and Vitaly Paley