Kinder, Gentler Palm Wants Your Gay Business

The Palm West: Totally a gay hotspot.
The Palm West: Totally a gay hotspot.haha Photo: Melissa Hom

Since 1926, the Palm restaurant chain has been feeding its mostly male clientele big steaks, big lobsters, and the big heads of famous people with those scribbly caricatures on the wall. But with the current steakhouse boom — and more competition — the owners of the Palm are trying to move the restaurant away from being an “old boys’ club.” On August 27, the Palm plans to introduce a multi-pronged marketing strategy to freshen up its image: That means targeting women (via salads with enticing, exotic-sounding names like Tequila Shrimp or Raspberry Lobster Tempura) and a younger set (look for bigger bars and ads on VH1).

Plus, they want to attract more gays and lesbians. Bruce Bozzi Jr., executive vice president at The Palm, says that “in each community where our restaurants are located, our general managers are focused on building relationships with women, African American, Latino, Asian and gay and lesbian groups.” Just how, exactly, does the Palm plan to sell a porterhouse as gay? Too premature too say right now, but Scott Long, director of the Lesbian and Gay Right’s Project at Human Rights Watch, is a bit baffled. “It’s interesting that they assume that gays and lesbians aren’t eating steaks already,” he says. “Gays eat steak too!” —Geoffrey Gray

Update: An earlier version of this story neglected to include the quote from Bruce Bozzi Jr.

Kinder, Gentler Palm Wants Your Gay Business