Steaks and Sketches

When Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened The Palm Restaurant in 1926, they had no money to decorate. Luckily, their location on Manhattan’s Second Avenue was in close proximity to the headquarters of King Features Syndicate and attracted a large clientele of cartoonists. In exchange for their meals, artists would often draw their own creations on the walls of The Palm.

Since then, the flagship Palm has become a living museum of cartoons and caricatures featuring such famous faces as Popeye, Batman, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, and characters from "The Family Circus." To preserve these legendary hand-drawn sketches – many of which were drawn in charcoal and pastels – the Palm’s walls were professionally restored in 1995.

Over the years, the tradition of decorating our locations with caricatures has continued as we’ve expanded across the country and internationally. Before a new restaurant opens, 200 to 300 local notables' likenesses are placed on the walls, and new caricatures of regulars and celebrities are added regularly. Not surprisingly, the most in-demand wall space is at the original Second Avenue location, where only five caricatures are added each year due to space constraints.