The Palm Family

Since opening the doors of our first restaurant in 1926, our family has grown far beyond the Bozzis and Ganzis, to include many outstanding men and women who keep our traditions alive, our kitchens innovative, and our commitment to quality unmatched. We’d like to introduce you to a few of them.
Wally Ganzi

Wally Ganzi
Co-Chairman and Co-Owner

Walter Ganzi Jr. (Wally) is co-chairman and co-owner of The Palm Restaurants and Palm Restaurant Group. He is the third generation of the Ganzi family to own and operate the prolific company. Wally began working at The Palm’s original restaurant in Manhattan in the early 1960s where he learned the business first-hand from his father, Walter Ganzi Sr., as well as grandfather and founder, John Ganzi.

Wally oversees the management of the company, strategic planning and long-term development. He spends much of his time working on the fiscal management, development and expansion. During his tenure The Palm has grown from one to 24 locations.

The Palm was among the first white tablecloth restaurant concepts to expand across the United States. Wally was a pioneer in the expansion process through incomparable, hands-on personal attention. With each new Palm, Wally moved his family to the new city to develop The Palm’s culture, focus on quality, unsurpassed customer service and Palm-style hospitality first hand. It is this level of dedication that earned him a place in The Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame.

His passion for the business has extended into many personal relationships with The Palm’s famous customers. His fondest celebrity moments include dining with Henry and Jane Fonda, and watching Fred Astaire tap dance on the bar at The Palm Los Angeles in celebration of his caricature. After many years, he remains close friends with such notable customers as President George H. W. Bush, with whom he worked for many years, George Hamilton, Brian Dennehy, Brenda Vaccaro, Cheryl Ladd, Dinah Shore and many others.

Wally honed his skills as a restaurateur at the prestigious restaurant and hospitality school, Paul Smith’s College, from which he graduated in 1963. He continued his education at Denver University, and earned honorary doctorates of business administration in foodservice management from both Johnson & Wales and Paul Smith’s College.

One of the school’s most active alumni, Wally financed the creation of The Wally Ganzi Jr. Restaurant Training Center at Paul Smith’s College in 2005. The 50-seat training restaurant includes a fully operational commercial kitchen, technology lab, interview suite and resource center.

An active philanthropist, Wally resides in Naples, FL enjoying time with his wife Sandy, his children and grandchildren. In his spare time Wally enjoys traveling, the outdoors, fly fishing, playing golf, riding horses and skiing.

Bruce Bozzi Sr

Bruce Bozzi Sr.
Co-Chairman and Co-Owner

Bruce Bozzi Sr. is co-chairman and co-owner of The Palm Restaurants and The Palm Restaurant Group. Bruce got his start at The Palm in the early 1960s while he was in college, later taking over the business from his father, Bruno Bozzi. As the third generation of the Bozzi family to own and operate The Palm, together with business partner Wally Ganzi, Bruce has grown The Palm from a single New York restaurant to a leading restaurant company with locations across the U.S. and in Mexico.

Bruce oversees company strategy and works to ensure that The Palm’s family values and high standards of customer service remain intact across all restaurants. A driving force behind the restaurant’s expansion, which began in 1972, Bruce continues to advise development decisions today. He is also credited with introducing jumbo lobsters to The Palm menu, which dispelled the myth that meat from large lobsters was tough and helped popularize the surf and turf concept worldwide.

Proud of the family tradition behind The Palm, Bruce has groomed his son, Bruce Bozzi Jr., to continue the Bozzi family legacy of nurturing important relationships with longtime staff members and ensuring they feel like part of the family.

Bruce divides his time between Manhattan, East Hampton, and Florida. He married his high school sweetheart over 50 years ago, and is the proud father of two children and four grandchildren. While he enjoys a good game of golf, he attributes much of The Palm’s success to his New York sensibilities of passion, directness and the ability to get things done in a fast-paced environment – values which are reflected in every Palm restaurant.

Bruce Bozzi Jr.

Bruce Bozzi Jr.
Executive Vice President

Bruce Bozzi Jr. is executive vice president of The Palm Restaurant Group. He is the fourth-generation descendant of The Palm’s co-founder and the son of co-chairman and co-owner Bruce Bozzi Sr.

Bruce grew up at The Palm, holding his first official positions at Palm One and Palm Too in 1985, where he worked summers while attending the University of Southern California. After spending three years at The Palm East Hampton, he moved into the catering sales role at Palm Too. From there, he spent three years as assistant general manager of The Palm West Side and served as regional director of operations for The Palm’s 10 locations in the Northeast before his promotion to executive vice president.

As executive vice president, Bruce directs the company’s marketing, culinary, and human resource teams and regularly visits Palm locations throughout the country to ensure that all restaurants maintain the same rigorous standards of quality, hospitality and tradition.

Previously splitting his time between New York and Washington, DC, Bruce moved to Los Angeles in 2008. From his new home, Bruce became the ambassador of The Palm brand upon the occasion of the company’s 85th anniversary in 2011, leading to television appearances and the launch of the Lunch with Bruce radio program.

Bruce, an active philanthropist and advocate, is married and a proud father and stepfather. He is active with the Good+ Foundation and GLSEN, which recognized him the GLSEN Champion Award in 2017 for his leadership on LBGTQ issues in K-12 education, working to form gay-straight organization alliances and provide resources for educators and school-aged kids.

Tony Tammero

Tony Tammero
Vice President, Culinary Operations

Longtime friends became family when Tony’s sister married Bruce Bozzi Sr. An accomplished chef, Tony joined The Palm Restaurant Group in 1964. Spearheading the culinary area for the entire restaurant group, Tony specializes in quality control, menu development, and the management of our chefs and kitchen staff. As Vice President, Culinary Operations, he travels to each of The Palm’s locations to ensure that the highest level of culinary execution is maintained. He also oversees the opening of all new restaurants.

Tony started out at The Palm’s flagship Second Avenue location as a “pantry man” responsible for making salads. Through sheer skill, determination, and dedication, he rose to become the restaurant’s executive chef. After a lengthy tenure with The Palm, Tony was given the opportunity to open Lock, Stock, and Barrel, his own restaurant in Darien, Conn. Five years later, he sold the restaurant and re-launched his career with The Palm, opening Palm Too on Second Avenue in Manhattan.

Tony has been featured on numerous media outlets including The Discovery Channel, Extra!, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Day Los Angeles, the Food & Wine Radio Network, and Forbes.com. He is also a member of Chefs in America and the James Beard Foundation. Tony lives in Miami with the most well-fed pampered pooch on the planet.

Victor Ganzi

Victor Ganzi
Board Member

Son of second-generation restaurateur Walter Ganzi Sr., Victor has never drifted too far from the family business. Although he pursued many professional interests in law and business, Victor credits his early experience serving at the family restaurant as a meaningful contribution to his leadership skills and work ethic.

Besides serving on the board of Palm Management Corporation, Victor also serves as a board director for global risk management leader, Willis Towers Watson. Victor previously rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hearst Corporation. Prior to joining Hearst, Victor was the managing partner at the international law firm of Rogers & Wells (now part of Clifford Chance). Victor graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University with a B.S. in Accounting, received a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and holds an L.L.M. in Taxation from New York University.

Victor continues to contribute to his family’s legacy by providing his exceptional expertise gained during a diverse career in law and finance and his service on several boards of directors.

 

At The Palm, we’re all about family and friendship and teamwork.

- Bruce Bozzi, Jr.

Jim Longo

Jim Longo
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Jim joined The Palm in 1983 and continues to work closely with the owners and executive team overseeing operations, business and growth strategy. Jim has played an integral role in guiding the company’s growth from a small group of nine restaurants to over 20 locations across the United States and Mexico.

Jim was the first non-operations person to ever win The Palm’s prestigious Gigi Award, developed to recognize a lifetime of dedication and loyalty to the company. The coveted award honors Gigi Delmaestro, legendary manager of The Palm’s West Hollywood location. The award embodies the “Gigi” spirit and commitment to maintaining The Palm’s culture of loyalty, honesty, quality, teamwork, dedication, generosity and guest satisfaction. Jim’s favorite “celebrity moment” at The Palm happened when Tom Landry, Tony Dorsett, and the owner of the Dallas Cowboys came into The Palm, and he personally showed Dorsett his caricature.

Prior to joining The Palm, Jim served for 11 years as senior accountant at Grant Thorton and CA Service Company. In his spare time, he belongs to an informal organization of prominent restaurant CFOs who meet regularly to discuss the direction of the industry.

Originally from Greenville, SC, he currently resides in Virginia, where he enjoys fishing, polo and hunting as well as spending time with his wife of 47 years, their children and grandchildren.

Jeff Phillips

Jeff Phillips
Chief Operating Officer

A quintessential restaurateur, Jeff joined The Palm family in 1984 as an Assistant Manager in Chicago, and now oversees all Restaurant Operation functions, including financial performance.  After management assignments in San Francisco, Dallas and LA he moved to New York State in 1988, where he honed his skills at the original Palm in New York City as well as The Palm East Hampton.  In 1989 he opened The Palm Philadelphia as the General Manager, where he still has many friends today. The Palm Chicago welcomed him back in 1995 as their General Manager, and in 1998, Jeff moved to Washington, DC to spearhead the Marketing Department at the company’s headquarters.

Under his leadership, The Palm’s loyalty program, the 837 Club, was launched, which today is unparalleled in its success in the restaurant industry.  He was promoted to Vice President of Marketing, went on to become Vice President of Operations in 2005, and then Senior Vice President of Operations shortly thereafter. Jeff regularly spends time in each restaurant, playing an active hands-on role in helping each location, and manager, achieve operational excellence.

Prior to joining The Palm, Jeff began his hospitality career as a busboy at The Settler’s Inn restaurant in Medford Lakes, NJ in 1979. From there he moved to Stratton, VT where he held server and bartending positions at several local restaurants from 1980 to 1982.

Jeff used his practical experience in the field to earn his degree in Restaurant Management from Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York, where he graduated in 1983. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf, fly-fishing, skiing and spending time with his wife and children.

Joy Jones

General Counsel

Karen LuKanic

Karen LuKanic
Chief Marketing Officer

Karen originally joined The Palm in 2002 as Sales Manager at The Palm Los Angeles, then returned to The Palm in 2016 bringing more than 25 years of restaurant, catering, sales and marketing experience in her role as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Karen spearheads marketing, sales and restaurant growth, to build upon the company’s iconic history and cultivate new initiatives for the multi-unit operation.

Prior to joining The Palm Restaurant Group as CMO, Karen was Senior Vice President at Richard Sandoval Restaurants where she oversaw marketing, sales, business development and served on the Board of Directors. Before that, Karen was Corporate Director of Sales at Xanterra Parks & Resorts, where she led sales and catering teams. Karen also served as Vice President of Business Development for Epicurean Culinary Group, President of Los Angeles’s iconic Farm of Beverly Hills, and Vice President, Catering Sales at the world-renowned Wolfgang Puck Catering. In addition, Karen worked with several major brands in Southern California including Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and The Walt Disney Company.

Karen is active in the hospitality industry, having served as an advisory board member for The Special Event for five years, as a member of the National Association of Catering Executives and Luxury Marketing Council. Karen has spoken at major conferences and events, including The Special Event (TSE), Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California. She is a two-time Gala Award Winner and was named “Best Presenter” by the Charitable Celebrity Commission.

A Chicago native, Karen attended Eastern Illinois University, Northwestern University, completed the professional chef curriculum at The New School of Cooking and a pastry specialty at the California School of Culinary Arts. When not commuting between her office in Washington and home in Denver, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter in the mountains, practicing yoga, cooking and wine tasting.

Meet your local Palm team.

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