I am insatiably curious and always keen to learn something new, but I find that I am surprised by the seemingly familiar more often than not. Case in point? The Palm restaurant in Philadelphia. This elegant steakhouse is tucked inside the landmark Hyatt at The Bellevue hotel. It exudes that classic steakhouse appeal – a dark wood bar, a buzzy “business is getting done here” ambience and professional male waiters sporting jackets.
I have visited other Palm restaurants in other cities and I thought I knew the story, but I was surprised to learn that this collection of traditional steakhouses is still family owned and operated. There’s plenty of fascinating history…all you have to do is gaze at the caricatures adorning the walls to get a taste of history - Palm style.
The story is that the original restaurant, which opened in New York City in 1926, was decorated with caricatures because of limited funds - the owners traded food for art. The idea stuck and now all Palm restaurants feature faces of prominent locals, celebrities and loyal customers. Another tidbit of fascinating history concerns the name itself. Apparently, when the heavily-accented Italian owners registered the name of their new restaurant to be named after their hometown of Parma in Italy, the clerk misunderstood them and registered “The Palm.”
Each outpost of The Palm identifies closely with its home city and Philadelphia’s is no exception. Overlooking the action of Broad Street, this restaurant has been a Philly mainstay for 25 years, but while many are familiar with the bar and restaurant, just upstairs from the reception desk is a lesser known gem – the private dining space. This space features a private bar and overlooks the gorgeous Bellevue lobby. With room for up to 100 guests in rounds or 45 crescent style, this private space has that inimitable Palm feel with the exclusivity of a private space. Of course, should your numbers require it, you can always rent out the entire downstairs for 180 guests…or rent up and down for nearly 275!