The iconic, caricature-filled Palm steakhouse is now exploring a sale — the latest step in a rough year that has included filing for bankruptcy and sexual harassment lawsuits from former employees.
The Ganzi and Bozzi families who own the steakhouse have hired advisors to help sell the 93-year-old steakhouse chain, a decision approved by a Florida bankruptcy judge as a part of the company’s bankruptcy filings, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. The Palm filed for bankruptcy in March following a bitter lawsuit in which half the family won a $120 million payout.
The dramatic lawsuit was between family members of the historic New York steakhouse: Garry Ganzi and Claire Breen, grandchildren of the founders, won a lawsuit against their cousin Walter Ganzi Jr. and his partner Bruce Bozzi Sr. — saying that they locked them out of proper profits.
Ganzi and Breen were part owners of the original Palm that closed in 2015, and in the 1970s, Ganzi Jr. and Bozzi Sr. created a separate company that owns all the new locations outside of New York, paying a licensing fee per location. But Ganzi and Breen successfully argued that their cousin should have given them more profits. There are now more than two dozen locations in the U.S. and Mexico of the steakhouse, three of them in New York City.
Ganzi and Breen’s lawyer tells the Nation’s Restaurant News that his clients are “conflicted, sad and disappointed” about the potential sale, but that “on the other hand, they’re owed a lot of money,” which theoretically would come from the sale.
The sale includes full ownership of 18 locations, majority ownership of an additional three, and licensing of three others. Ganzi Jr. and Bozzi Sr. also filed for personal bankruptcy earlier this year.
Besides the money problems, former employees also filed a lawsuit against the company this year for allegedly fostering an atmosphere of sexual harassment at some of its New York City restaurants.
Eater has reached out to the Palm for comment.