Technology meets oenology at the beloved waterfront eatery.
Palisade, landmark Elliott Bay restaurant and old stomping grounds for celebrity chef John Howie, reached a turning point late last year. The eatery — a local favorite for anniversaries, special occasions and other celebrations — was the first in the Seattle area to introduce an iPad wine list.
“It’s easy and it’s interactive,” Palisade wine director and sommelier Yashar Shayan said as he flipped through the tablet’s pages. “You can choose your wine by red or white, grape, country, region, by label, eco-status. But it’s not all in front of your face; you only see more if you want to see more.”
The tablet version of Palisade’s 35-page wine list, which contains more than 500 entries, was created by SmartCellar, a company that specializes in restaurant-based iPad programs, and Pat Irwin, VP of Information Technology for Restaurants Unlimited, Palisade’s parent group.
“We can customize [the iPad] to our own taste because it’s designed for us,” Irwin said of SmartCellar. “I saw it at a restaurant in Chicago and decided to go with it. We brought it here to benefit the guest and help technology along.”
Shayan said the restaurant — previously associated with an older, wealthier crowd — has seen a rush of technologically-inclined guests since the iPad list was unveiled.
“The reality is that people of all ages and demographics have iPhones, so this interface is very intuitive and familiar to them,” Shayan said. “This is a place where everyone celebrates and we want to have a good balance of guests. In that, we offer wines at every price point.”
Shayan said cost-conscious patrons can search and sort by price and vintage. Tables can build a “shopping cart,” talk amongst themselves and come to a decision as a group — rather than rely on a “lead orderer” to call the shots, he explained. As a result, Palisade no longer suffers from unavailable wines. Irwin explained the iPad application has both improved and simplified the dining experience.
Irwin and Shayan said they plan to expand their iPad line-up (possibly to include a cocktail menu), and are exploring other mediums to promote Palisade.
“Anytime you bring innovation in, you do it to make it easier,” Irwin said. “It’s good for everybody and hopefully it will get guests educated and open to trying new wines. They have the chance to explore.”
Palisade | Elliott Bay Marina, 2601 W. Marina Pl., Seattle | (206) 285-1000