at Pallet Bistro
Pallet’s atmosphere is the first thing you notice upon entering, thanks to the unique design aesthetic of Cody Derrick and CityHomeCollective. Dark and moody, its brass, wood and glass feel warm and comforting—it’s like nothing else.
Designer Nash Martinez customized the light fixtures but Pallet buys all of its bulbs from Buzz at Retrospect Water & Light (68 E. 700 South, SLC, 801-517-3876, RetrospectWaterAndLight.com), a small local shop that “has it all!” according to Esther Imotan, owner and operator of Pallet since 2015.
The artwork of Pallet is one of a kind compared to other SLC restaurants. Perhaps it’s because the paintings that adorn the walls were commissioned solely for the restaurant by the original owners and CityHomeCollective designers in 2012.
The impressionistic 19th-century oil paintings of artist Courtney Miles Derrick (CourtneyDerrick.com)—who happens to be the sister-in-law of CityHome’s CEO Cody Derrick—set the tone for the entire restaurant. Whether it’s a portrait of Porter Rockwell, a quiet and serene Western landscape or a vase of flowers, Courtney’s art transports patrons when they enter Pallet, making them feel they’ve just entered an upscale Western saloon or perhaps a museum.
3. Wild Game
In the early days of Pallet, getting the food and beverage offerings to match the design of the restaurant was a challenge. “Because it’s such a beautifully decorated space, it sets the bar high for everything else,” owner Imotan says. “We wanted [Pallet] to be a staple of the city. Now, we’re firing on all cylinders of food, beverage and space.
Everything is elevated equally now.” Perhaps it’s because their emphasis on game meats—such as duck, bison, elk, quail and pheasant—aligns the menu with the bistro’s aesthetic. Diners might be surprised that Pallet’s bison comes from Fort Lupton, Colo,. and its New Zealand venison elk comes from Broadleaf Game, because of their desire to feature high-end products, executive chef Buzz Willey says.
Pallet’s novel cutlery and glassware is another element of the restaurant’s aesthetic. Their Mezzy Star cocktail, for example, is served in an elegant multifaceted goblet from the Longchamp Cristal D’Arques glassware collection (can be purchased at Macy’s).
For highballs and Collins glasses, they use an exquisite finishing touch: gold-plated Collins Spoon Straws from the Cocktail Kingdom (CocktailKingdom.com). Imotan feels strongly that it’s the front-of-house staff that helps make the restaurant, including the many familiar faces of servers, bartenders and hosts, such as Ashleigh Hamilton, who’ve been with Pallet since inception.
Correction: The names of Esther Imotan and Ashleigh Hamilton had a different spelling in an earlier version of this story. They are now correctly spelled.