From coast to coast, people know that The Palm is synonymous with prime steaks and outrageously outsized lobsters. What many don`t realize is that The Palm is thoroughly family-bred. It has been run by the sons and now by the grandsons of both founding partners.
In fact, The Palm Restaurant is the oldest family-owned white tablecloth restaurant to expand across the United States and still maintain family ownership. Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi`s original New York City steakhouse on Second Avenue has grown into a thriving empire of over 25 restaurants spanning the continent from Boston to Los Angeles.
The northern Italian entrepreneurs who began The Palm tradition in 1926 intended it to be a restaurant specializing in cuisine from their native Parma, Italy. According to Palm folklore, the name "Palm" originated when the proprietors obtained a business license. They wanted to call it "Parma," but because of their Italian accents, it translated into "Palm."
Steaks and seafood were not part of the original concept of The Palm but began out of an effort to cater to its clientele of artists and writers. Every time a customer asked for a steak, John Ganzi ran up Second Avenue to a nearby butcher shop, bought a steak, and cooked to order. Today, The Palm runs its own meat wholesale company to ensure the quality of its steaks.
The Palm's reputation for seafood started with third generation owners Wally Ganzi and Bruce Bozzi who introduced the gargantuan four-to-eight pound lobsters in the 1970s and disproved the theory that large lobsters are tough. Almost overnight The Palm went from selling 150 pounds of lobster per week to 25,000 pounds per week. Even with these signature additions, tradition at The Palm honors its roots. Some of John Ganzi's original Italian dishes are still on the menu!
The original Palm Restaurant at 837 Second Avenue is a virtual museum of cartoons and caricatures. Many of the familiar faces drawn on its walls date back to the 1920s when the restaurant was opened by Italian immigrants Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi. ??Back in the early days of The Palm, most of the caricatures were drawn using magic marker, charcoal, or pastels. Unfortunately, many of the original colors have faded over time. In 1995 the caricatures were professionally restored to preserve these legendary drawings. Presently, each of the walls in the New York flagship are insured for a half million dollars.
When Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi first started The Palm, they had no money to decorate. Luckily, their restaurant was located very close to the headquarters of King Features Syndicate, and attracted a large clientele of cartoonists. Often, to pay for a plate of spaghetti, the cartoonists would draw their own creations on the walls of The Palm.
These cartoons can still be seen on the walls of the original Palm, most of which were created by the original artists.
Artist Russell Patterson also painted the many portraits of voluptuous women that can be seen throughout the restaurant.
Telephone: (212) 687-7698
Address: 837 2nd Ave
Cross Streets bet. 44th and 45th Sts.
Hours And Additional Info
Price: Very Expensive. About $50 and up per person.
The Palm Information
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