A Bigger, Brighter Palm

After a summer renovation, DC scenesters have their downtown lunch spot back

By: sara levine

Though most regulars have their designated spots in the main dining room, these new tables are being billed as "power booths."
DC nearly shuts down during the dog days of August, and this year 19th Street power-lunch spot the Palm took advantage of the late-summer lull to close for renovations. Last week, the restaurant reopened with a new glass-enclosed veranda, a bigger bar area, and several freshly cartooned faces smiling down from the walls, already plastered with the visages of regulars and local power players.

The Palm, which opened in Washington in 1972, has always stuck to a menu of American steakhouse classics (porterhouses, creamed spinach, home fries) and gargantuan slabs of chocolate cake and Key-lime pie. None of that has changed, but the national chain has added five lunch entrée salads, ranging from fresh fruit with yogurt to lobster tempura with raspberries and cherry tomatoes. Those might sound as if they’re for delicate appetites, but in typical Palm fashion, the portions are huge.

Among the new faces in the crowd: sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak.

Other small changes abound: Spacious bathrooms near the entrance replace the old, cramped ones off the main dining room, which were taken out to make room for a kitchen expansion. Three booths have been added across from the bar, and the wall above them provides plenty of space for new caricatures of DC power players. Among the new faces: Mayor Adrian Fenty, CBS News’s Bob Schieffer, lobbyist Tommy Boggs, NBC4 sports anchor Lindsay Czarniak, and gossip columnists Jeff DuFour and Anne Schroeder of the Examiner and Politico, respectively.

The Palm, 1225 19th St., NW; 202-293-9091; thepalm.com.