Editor's Note
The Heathman has been a culinary and wine institution for decades. ##Photo by John Valls.

Better Late Than Never

Heathman Restaurant deserves recognition

By Hilary Berg

What are the odds that the restaurant you have chosen for your publication’s top culinary award of the year announces its closure directly before you go to press?

Well, favorable, I guess, because that is exactly what happened.

Months, ago, OWP and the Oregon Wine Board selected The Heathman Restaurant as the Oregon Wine A-List Awards 2016 Wine Program of the Year.

We chose the restaurant because of its strong, storied commitment to Oregon wine. From curating an incredible wine list filled with local selections to becoming a breeding ground for aspiring winemakers, such as Marcus Goodfellow of Goodfellow Family Wines (Matello), and, most recently, James Rahn, The Heathman’s current sommelier — well, as of only a few days ago.

Just as quickly as the news broke about the restaurant’s upheaval — supposedly caused by a spat between the operator of  the restaurant and owner of the property — headlines filled social media feeds about the hallowed space’s future plans.

Editor's Note

Hilary Berg has been the editor of OWP since 2006. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s in journalism. She and her husband own a seven-acre vineyard and winery called Roots.

Vitaly and Kimberly Paley of Paley’s Place and Imperial — both Oregon Wine A-List honorees — have signed a 10-year lease with LaSalle Hotel Properties, which bought The Heathman in 2014.

The new restaurant, to be called Headwaters, will focus on fresh seafood — including a raw bar — and local ingredients.

Hopefully, wine will be part of the Paleys’ beverage program. If the couple’s other two restaurants are any indication, the wine list is sure to spotlight Oregon producers. But, really, this is all hearsay until the doors open later this summer.

For now, we are focused on The Heathman, which remains open — an official closure date has yet to be announced.

Having said all that, The Heathman has been a long-time culinary institution with a wine cellar rivaled by only a few restaurants in Oregon. And as with any business, its success starts with its people — the chef, the kitchen staff, the waiters, the wine steward, the bartender — working tirelessly to make diners’ experiences truly special. 

Without further explanation, OWP and OWB are proud to honor The Heathman and, most importantly, its staff with this year’s top A-List award.

Please note: I did not change Peter Szymczak’s article about The Heathman to reflect the impending closure. As of this letter, the doors are open, and Sommelier James Rahn and Executive Chef Michael Stanton are still there.

Wherever they land, they are sure to continue the excellence that The Heathman has offered for so many years.


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