On July 8, the Palm Restaurant Group’s Wally Ganzi, Co-Chairman and third-generation Co-Owner of The Palm Restaurants and Palm Restaurant Group (PRG)—which operates 28 fine dining, white tablecloth restaurants across the United States, Mexico and London—will help reveal the heritage brand’s first prototype design in Houston. Along with Bruce Bozzi, Jr., Executive Vice President and fourth-generation family member and John Bettin, President and CEO, this milestone is one of many for the Galleria area landmark, which has long attracted a who’s who of locals and visitors since its opening nearly 35 years ago. As the story goes, a former President initially recommended the expansion into H-town, creating one of the earliest outposts of the classic Manhattan-born eatery. The robust redesign takes The Palm back to the future by giving a healthy nod to some of its earliest attributes – dating back nearly a century – while thoughtfully integrating other components that are more in line with the needs and wants of today’s sophisticated diner and meeting or event planner.
Houston guests are in for a treat. The restaurant has not just been remodeled, but rather rebuilt in nearly every aspect from the ground up with sensitivity to nostalgia and tradition. In addition to a redesign, there is a larger footprint, a new lounge, new lunch menu items and new signage.
“Our goal though this process has been to retain, and in some cases reclaim, the best of The Palm’s signatures. We believe our in-depth look at our brand will greatly enhance the overall experience for guests, as well as establish a stronger connection with our newest generation of Palm patrons,” said Bozzi.
The design team for the renovation was led by Dacre & Younquist, a Chicago-based architect, who was also responsible for developing the updated design concept. An additional and important 1,800 square feet was gained by the acquisition of a neighboring cigar store and expanding the front of the restaurant, bringing the restaurant’s total size to just over 8,800 square feet. The updated design scheme incorporates authentic Palm elements and cartoons, but adds a contemporary twist by introducing a warmer color palette, plush seating and decorative lighting. A centrally located, hand-painted mural designed by Zachary Bird will feature iconic Houston landmarks and notable guests.
Guests will be greeted by an dramatic entrance tower, which has been relocated to the front corner of the building facing the bustling Westheimer corridor. Once inside, patrons will be introduced to a large bar which serves as a focal point of the restaurant, and seats 23 guests. An intimate lounge with an arched tin ceiling will be outfitted with plush, upholstered booths, flat screen TVs and cocktail tables for casual dining. The intimate dining room provides seating for up to 150 will be warmly lit by streetlamp-inspired chandeliers and sconces. A row of raised tufted, red upholstered banquettes ends at one corner to create a cozy group table for parties of ten. The design also includes a private and divisible 1,400-square-foot function room which will accommodate standing cocktails for 125 and will be equipped with 60-inch flat screens and an audio/visual system for presentations.
“With our 35th anniversary taking place this year in Houston, it just seemed right to reintroduce The Palm in a city that has been so welcoming to us,” said Executive Director James Martin, who was part of the original opening team. “What makes the timing so interesting is the similarity of Houston’s economy today with our opening in 1978. This is a city filled with ideas and energy – literally and figuratively – where everyone wants to be now.”
Under the direction of Executive Chef Ricardo Ramirez, the menu promises cleverly retooled presentations of old favorites like jumbo shrimp cocktail and hand cut French fries; new lunch options such as Cloak and Dagger, pastrami brisket, Swiss cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing and Chicken and Avocado Sandwich, with aged cheddar cheese, bacon, tomato, avocado and micro greens; as well as a new Power Lunch menu, that focuses on convenience and time by offering a simple, affordable menu combinations ($25.90). In addition, a popular summer lobster program is being reintroduced; Summer Lobster for Two for $79.95, which will run from July 10th to August 31st.
Press release and image provided by Studio Communications.