The Palm, a longtime power-lunch destination in Center City known for the caricatures of celebs and customers on its walls, has closed, effective immediately, according to sources within the Bellevue building, its home since 1989.
The Palm was never so much about the steak as it was about the sizzle. In its heyday, it was a magnet for lawyers, politicos, real estate honchos, and other boldface names who had 546-PALM inked into their Rolodexes.
Lunchtime, in particular, could be a show, as jacketed waiters deftly dodged table-hoppers. Its nighttime business lately had faded quickly after happy hour.
Competition, however, has been building, cutting the city’s dining pie into progressively smaller slices. The opening last year of a Del Frisco’s Grille across the street did not help matters, said Philadelphia society chronicler HughE Dillon, who enjoyed the see-and-be-seen scene and the chicken Parm.
Alas, “young people didn’t realize how special the restaurant was,” Dillon said.
A representative of Landry’s Inc., the Palm’s new owner, did not return a request for comment and a receptionist at the restaurant declined to comment.
Landry’s restaurant collection comprises other competitive steakhouses including Del Frisco’s and Morton’s, which just closed its Philadelphia location. Landry’s bought the Palm restaurants out of bankruptcy two weeks ago after a bitter power struggle among the family that has owned the Palm.
Philadelphia’s Palm closed from time to time for renovations. It never seemed to regain its footing after a closing of more than a year, from March 2016 to July 2017, that gave it a smaller footprint. It no longer jutted into the landmark building’s lobby.
During that move, the signature caricatures were redone to update the list of A-, B-, C-, D-, and E-listers that appear in each Palm location, a tradition that dates back to the newspapermen on the walls of the first Palm, in New York City.