If Protégé doesn’t thrive then I figure there’s no hope, for it has excellent food, a well-tailored interior and good service.

Kelly says he has 50 investors, and 43 are local — which should go a long way to keeping the diners coming. For many who invested, it wasn’t just for monetary return but for the opportunity to have a nearby restaurant they could be proud of. Kelly has further stacked the deck for success. His partner in this venture is Anthony Secviar, who also worked at the French Laundry for six years before moving to San Diego in 2012 to work at Addison in the Grand Del Mar Hotel.

Together they’ve created a stunning restaurant with all the attention to detail but little of the pretense of the French Laundry.

Designer Jon de la Cruz was trying to walk the line between formality and the warehouse feel that dominates design these days, which drove his vision of the new Che Fico in San Francisco. In Palo Alto, the designer had an empty canvas to work with, so he was able to install multilevel ceiling heights to define the different areas, floor-to-ceiling windows, wide-planked wood flooring and tactile tufted velvet banquettes to soften the hard surfaces.


San Francisco Chronicle

June 15, 2018

Palo Alto finally gets an exceptional restaurant: Protégé from French Laundry alumni

San Francisco Chronicle

December 29, 2018

3 Our favorite new restaurants of the year.