A novel Tottenville business welcomes guests to discover their inner artist while enjoying wine and friends

By Jennifer Vikse • Photos by Marc Estrella

After visiting the franchise expo at the Javits Center a few years ago, Dorothy Fadell and her two business partners— brother Fred Fadell, a firefighter, and friend Rich Barton—were hooked. They decided that they had to bring Pinot’s Palette to Staten Island.

The concept behind the franchise business is simple: paint. drink, have fun. The studio welcomes guests for a lesson in painting and a stop (or two or three) at the bar where wine and beer are served at reasonable prices.

Located on Ellis Street in Tottenville, the studio allows anyone to be a Picasso…no art experience required.

“We thought, ‘What a cool concept. What else could you need?’” offered Dorothy, a first time business owner. After being introduced to the concept, the partners travelled to Pinot’s headquarters in Houston, Texas, for more information and training.

A native Staten Islander, Dorothy recalls ever-having to travel over a bridge to do “something cool”—whether it was trekking to Hoboken, Brooklyn, or Manhattan.


“Our hometown is always looking for just that…something cool,” she said.

In just two or three hours, guests can create acrylic paintings—whether they are takes on classics like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or Monet’s “Waterlillies,” or a landscape, beachscape, or holiday-inspired work. Classes are led by an artist who offers instruction, and music is ever an added inspiration.

“We’ve gotten such a great response,” Dorothy said. “People are just loving the concept and the experience.”

Even people who say they can’t draw a straight line.

“It’s so much fun to chat with customers,” she added. “They come in and say they can’t draw a straight line, but are inevitably surprised by how well they do. From the moment folks walk into the studio, they are like a guest in our home.”

Staffers chalk each guest’s name onto his or her respective table, just part of what the co-owner termed an “extra level of personal touch.” The concept has been most popular with women in their 20s through 50s, but also attract younger people, and even adults into their 80s. Particular popular of late are girls nights out, birthdays…even date nights, where a couple works together to create a joint work.

Pinot’s hosts private and kids parties as well. A two-hour class is $35, a three-hour $45, both include canvas, paint, aprons, and instruction. Beer and wine are available at the bar for a few dollars.

That’d be inspiration enough for us. •

Pinot’s Palette
20 Ellis St. / 718.554.4203 / pinotspalette.com