Palm voyage

The Palm Restaurant at WestShore Plaza to close Monday, March 24.

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The Palm, known for its steaks and sketches, is scheduled to close Monday after 13 years. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • The Palm, known for its steaks and sketches, is scheduled to close Monday after 13 years.

Monday, March 24, will be the last day of business in Tampa for the Palm Restaurant at 205 WestShore Plaza. Twenty-eight locations remain open all over the country, including one in London and two in Mexico. About 40 people are out of jobs — 13 servers, seven service assistants, five managers, an executive chef, a sous chef, line cooks and dishwashers.

The first Palm was opened in New York City by Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi in 1926. As natives of Parma, Italy, the duo wanted to honor their hometown by naming their restaurant after the city; however, the New York City clerk issued a license for “The Palm” at the business registration office, misunderstanding the men's heavy Italian accents. 
The Palm Restaurant is the oldest family-owned, white tablecloth restaurant to expand across the United States and still maintain family ownership. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • The Palm Restaurant is the oldest family-owned, white tablecloth restaurant to expand across the United States and still maintain family ownership.

Steaks and sketches were both adopted traditions that make the Palm stand out amongst other restaurants. The caricature tradition began when, instead of singing for their supper, artists paid their tab by painting an original portrait on the wall. The idea spread, and colorful caricatures can be found at every Palm restaurant.

Steaks weren’t a part of the original Palm menu, either. During the Palm’s early years, when a steak was ordered, Ganzi would have to run to a nearby butcher shop, buy a steak and then cook it to order. They were later added to the menu due to the increasing frequency of requests.
Local TV anchor Russel Rhodes is one of the many local celebs to be seen on the wall at the Palm at WestShore Plaza. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Local TV anchor Russel Rhodes is one of the many local celebs to be seen on the wall at the Palm at WestShore Plaza.
To disprove the theory that large lobsters were tough, the Palm added 4- to 8-pound lobsters to the menu in the 1970s. Almost overnight the Palm went from selling 150 pounds of lobster per week to 25,000 pounds per week. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • To disprove the theory that large lobsters were tough, the Palm added 4- to 8-pound lobsters to the menu in the 1970s. Almost overnight the Palm went from selling 150 pounds of lobster per week to 25,000 pounds per week.

Rich and Sue Tron dined at the Palm on Wednesday for one last time. They had been in a few days before, but didn’t get to say goodbye to their favorite server and manager, who have become like family to them. Heartbroken, Sue reminisced.

“Our daughter and son-in-law’s first date was here. They also had their rehearsal dinner for their wedding here. We always came for special occasions and are sad to see it go," Sue Tron said.

The high-end steak house posted on their website, "We are truly grateful for the loyalty our customers have given us for nearly 13 years."

Word on the street is that they already have another tenant, although mall officials have yet to announce who will occupy the space.
The Palm has become a place "to see and be seen." Celebrities frequent all Palm locations because of its food, casual setting and service. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • The Palm has become a place "to see and be seen." Celebrities frequent all Palm locations because of its food, casual setting and service.


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