Look closely or you’ll miss it. A simple concrete building tucked between a warehouse and an auto body shop. You might have assumed this is a just another industrial building, except for vertical letters spelling out PALETTE SHOP on the side. Intrigued, you wander inside and discover something unexpected.
Glass-blown bowls, decorative ceramic lamps, handcrafted jewelry, and an artist perched behind a counter, working in plain sight. You stop to observe, watching as he meticulously rolls out clay and slices it into organic shapes. With a growing curiosity, you wander through the displays, lingering over each handcrafted item to take in the finer details.
You’re particularly drawn to a set of plates with whimsical illustrations – cows, sheep, fish, and fruit. All of them are outlined in a thick black stroke, with a vibrant splash of color that spills over the line.
As you peruse the shop, you hear voices drifting in from another room and realize this space must be much larger than you thought. Excited to potentially see more artists at work, you walk through the doorway, only to stumble into… a restaurant?
You stand in the doorway for a moment, stunned. The walls are drenched in indigo blue, which makes you feel as if you’ve just been submerged underwater. A sensation that’s further heightened by the unique shape of the ceiling. It’s curved with strong, wooden cross beams that give off an illusion of an overturned ship floating overhead.
The dining room is filled with communal tables, but you notice plenty of people dining alone, notebooks spread out in front of them. It’s the kind of place you would expect to run into a poet or a songwriter.
As you scan the room, you spot one of the whimsical plates on a table. This one features a hand painted chicken and has leftover bits of cauliflower, peppers, and rotisserie chicken on the plate. You notice that another man dining on pork belly has a pig plate, and a woman eating artichoke fries has an artichoke plate. It’s a charming touch, and as you look over a menu at the host stand, you hear more voices drifting out of another room to your left.
Walking through the doorway, expecting to find more tables, you discover a long white room filled with hundreds of contemporary works of art. An art gallery featuring an eclectic mix of charcoal drawings, mixed media, and pop art. Across the gallery, a couple is admiring the artwork while sipping on glasses of red wine.
That’s when it all clicks. The entire thing is Palette. More than a shop, more than a restaurant, more than an art gallery, it’s a unique concept driven by art and artists. The items the artists produce are used in the restaurant and sold in the shop, while this gallery displays work from talented Bay Area artists. A symbiotic community that smudges the line between food and art.
Perhaps you’ll have to come back a few times to fully digest everything Palette has to offer. Lunch with a friend one day, a shopping expedition for home décor the next. But since you’re here right now, today will be about those $1 Vermouth Oysters you saw on the happy hour menu. Cheers!