By Elena Kadvany
alkymists shutters after less than two months in downtown Palo AltoUploaded: Nov 10, 2014
alkymists, the unusual downtown Palo Alto restaurant that hoped to merge food and philanthropy in one space, has closed after less than two months, former manager Thierry Fassiotti confirmed Monday.
alkymists opened in mid-September at 140 University Ave., the corner space previously home to Palo Alto Grill for 15 months and before that, Miyake.
Fassiotti said owner Luka Dvornik, who brought him in to flip the space after Palo Alto Grill closed in July, "pulled the rug out from our entire team" last week.
Fassiotti alluded to financial trouble, saying that the restaurant struggled to pay investors back. The kitchen crew walked out after Dvornik announced the closure last week, he said.
Fassiotti said many staff, including him, remain unpaid. He has helped a few of them get jobs across the street at La Boulange.
"We will not see the money any time soon," he said. "I'm going to count my losses and go back to L.A. next week."
Above: Thierry Fassiotti, right, stands with hostess Bryn Carmassi at the restaurant's soft opening on Sept. 18, 2014. Photo by Natalia Nazarova.
alkymists was a personal passion project for Fassiotti, a native of France who came to the Bay Area after a long restaurant and philanthropy career in Los Angeles. The restaurant served world-fusion food and planned to host free monthly brunches for low-income, battered or homeless women and their children, as well as teach them about nutrition and health. (Read a Sept. 26 feature I wrote on alkymists: Doing good with food)
Dvornik did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The 3,926-square-foot space (and its Type 47 liquor license) is officially on the market, listed for rent for $14,000 Triple Net plus $6,000 Triple Nets or for sale for $300,000. (In the comments section on the listing: "Seller invested over $1.0 million in the past two years. Please do not talk to employees.")