Palio was an Italian Restaurant at 151 West 51st Street in New York City. It opened in 1986 and closed 2011. It occupied 11,500 square feet on two levels. There was a bar on the ground floor, and a restaurant above. While the restaurant receives mixed reviews from this diner, the Palio Bar was a visually stimulating room featuring a huge wraparound mural of the famous Sienese horse racing festival, Il Palio di Siena, by Sandro Chia. You were, essentially, immersed in the race.
The Il Palio delle Contrade race is held twice each year in July and August in Siena, Italy. Ten Riders mount horses bareback dressed in colors representing ten of the seventeen contrade (districts) of the city. The Riders race for three laps around the piazza. The entire race typically lasts no more than 90 seconds. It's not uncommon for jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and see horses finishing the race with no rider.
Each district has its own flag, and patterns taken from the flags were used as inspiration for the Palio Restaurant matchbox and branding.
After the Ride
After Palio closed the space was briefly Piano Due, and in 2014 it opened as the Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, a joint venture between Aldo Sohm, an Austrian Award winning Sommelier, and chef Sommelier of Le Bernardin and Eric Pipert, Chef-ower of Le Bernardin.
Images of Palio di Siena and the Contrade flags are licensed
under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0