Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Culinary Cloud of Witnesses

The Palm Restaurant in West Hollywood has been an institution for the last thirty years. It is not an ordinary steak house because of the many film stars who are among its patrons.

However, the special feature of the restaurant is its ceiling and walls which are covered with pictures of those who have been regular diners for the last three decades.

As you enjoy your meal, caricatures of Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman smile down on you. John Travolta is there in his white Saturday Night Fever suit, Sonny and Cher are still together and Farrah Fawsett is in her prime.

When diners were recently informed that the Palm is moving to newer and larger premises their first concern was, “What about the pictures?” With almost every inch of the old restaurant covered in caricatures, each wall will be cut down in sections and re-hung in the new eating establishment.

The old and now the new restaurant will house the story of this dining community. The walls contain a museum of munching memories. Those no longer humanly present have a continuing significance. Ordinary diners adorn the walls, not just the rich and the famous. Three Wheaton terriers have their mug shots near the bar, providing visual evidence that you don’t have to be famous to be part of this restaurant community. Just hungry and loyal.

Source: Claire Hoffman, ‘Hallowed Walls of Hollywood’, L A Times, 13 April, 2006.

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Image: Inside the Palm Restaurant