A Family Tradition
- Wally Ganzi, Co-Chairman and Co-Owner
- Bruce Bozzi, Sr. Co-Chairman and Co-Owner
- Bruce Bozzi, Jr., Executive Vice President
- Jim Longo, Executive Vice President, Finance & CFO
- Jeff Phillips, Chief Operating Officer
- Tony Tammero, Corporate Chef
Walter Ganzi Jr. (Wally) is chairman and co-owner of The Palm Restaurants and Palm Restaurant Group (PRG), which operates 25 fine dining, white tablecloth restaurants across the United States and Mexico. He is the third generation of the Ganzi family to own and operate this successful company. Ganzi has been an active member of The Palm since his start at the flagship restaurant in Manhattan in the early 1960s. He learned the business first hand from his father, Walter Ganzi Sr. as well as grandfather and founder, John Ganzi.
Ganzi oversees the management of the company, strategic planning and long-term development. He is a financial wizard and spends much of his time working on the fiscal management, development and expansion of the company. Under his tenure The Palm has grown from one to 25 locations with all of the growth coming from internal capital.
The Palm was the first white tablecloth restaurant company to expand across the United States. Ganzi was successful in pioneering the expansion through a personal attention that no other chairman and owner can claim: With each new Palm, Ganzi packed up his family and moved to the new city to pass on The Palm’s culture, focus on quality, unsurpassed customer service and Palm-style hospitality. He built The Palm’s legacy one city at a time, only leaving when the restaurant was ready to stand on its own two feet.
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 L.A. Palm in celebration of his caricature. After many years, he remains close friends with such stars as George Hamilton, Leslie Neilsen, Brian Dennehy, Brenda Vaccaro, Cheryl Ladd and many others. In the late1970s, Ganzi served as a regular guest-host for three years on The Dinah Shore Show, performing cooking demonstrations and showing Dinah’s audience how to select and prepare steak, and has made several guest appearances on The American Sportsman with Curt Gowdy, as well as The Mike Douglas Show and The Gary Collins Show.
Ganzi also has a long-standing relationship with President George H.W. Bush, who convinced The Palm to open their second location in Washington D.C. He served as Bush’s national finance co-chairman in the 1988 presidential campaign, as the finance chairman for that year’s presidential inauguration and was on the planning committee for Bush’s 75th birthday and more recently 80th birthday celebrations. Ganzi was an integral member of the commissioning committee for the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). President Bush once referred to Ganzi as a tireless worker for things he believes in and the people he believes in.
Mr. Ganzi’s passion for the business benefits all restaurant companies today with the FICA tip tax credit. In the late 1980s, Ganzi teamed up with Norm Brinker and Rick Berman to work with congressional leaders and the Treasury Department to change tax law for employer liability on tip income. His effort saved the industry hundreds of millions of dollars and continues to provide this help every year.
Ganzi honed his skills as a restaurateur at the prestigious restaurant and hospitality school, Paul Smith’s College, from which he graduated in 1963. He has since become one of the school’s most active alumni and prides himself on recruiting top talent from the school for both front and back of the house. Paul Smith’s has honored Ganzi with the construction of the “Wally Ganzi, Jr. Training Restaurant,” a 50-seat facility that includes a display kitchen, technology lab, interview suite, and resource center.
Ganzi received a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Denver University in 1964. He received an honorary doctorate of business administration in foodservice management from Johnson & Wales and was elected into Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame.
He resides in Naples, Fla with his wife Sandy, and has three children and four grandchildren. In his spare time Ganzi enjoys traveling, the outdoors, flyfishing, playing golf, horses and skiing.
Bruce Bozzi Sr. is co-chairman and co-owner of The Palm Restaurants and Palm Restaurant Group. Bruce took over the business from his father, Bruno Bozzi, making him 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. as well as in Mexico City.
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 through quarterly meetings with leadership and staff. He was a driving force behind the restaurant’s expansion in the 1970s and 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.
A proud New Yorker, Bruce attributes a significant degree of The Palm's success to the New York attitude that is replicated at each Palm location.
Bruce Bozzi Jr. is executive vice president of Palm Restaurant Group. He is the fourth-generation descendent of The Palm’s co-founder and the son of co-chairman and co-owner Bruce Bozzi Sr. 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.
Having grown up at The Palm – literally – he has held virtually every management position at Palm locations across the U.S. Prior to his current position, he served as regional director of operations for The Palm’s 10 locations in the Northeast.
In addition to his travels on behalf of The Palm, Bruce divides his time between Washington, D.C., his native Manhattan, and Los Angeles.
Jim Longo, Executive Vice President and CFO
Jim Longo, Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer for The Palm Restaurants is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the company’s employee benefit systems, which are among the most advanced in the industry. A 27-year veteran, Longo has seen The Palm’s accounting department grow from a team of two to more than 40 employees. He has been involved in the creation and execution of flex spending (employees can donate a pre-taxed amount for healthcare and childcare) and phantom stock, which allows employees to share in the company’s success and build their retirement programs - a unique offering in the fine dining sector. Additionally, health benefits at The Palm are self-insured and 401Ks are offered to both part-time and full-time employees. Longo is also responsible for The Palm’s long-term incentive plan, which is given to managers (other than GMs, assistant GMs and executive chefs). These plans were created in 1997 and are a key reason behind The Palm’s industry-leading turnover rate of 24 percent.
Longo works closely with Palm co-owners Wally Ganzi, Bruce Bozzi and COO Jeff Phillips on overseeing operations, business and growth strategy. Among the original members of the executive board including, Bruce Bozzi, Wally Ganzi and Victor Ganzi, Longo has played an integral role in guiding the company’s growth from a small group of nine restaurants to 28 locations across the United States, London, and Mexico. Longo credits Ganzi and Bozzi, Jr. for leading the charge in ushering the company into the digital age without sacrificing The Palm’s distinct “old world” atmosphere, charm and mystique. Longo is most proud of the company’s ability to grow without the help of any outside financing.
“One of my most interesting and rewarding experiences at The Palm has been helping to integrate technology and modern management into our restaurants. Initially, The Palm was very hesitant to move away from its ‘old world’ way of doing business and accepting the opinion of the ‘new kids’ who we brought into help introduce the new programs,” said Longo. “In time, our veteran managers and staff came to respect the new system’s benefits and increased efficiency, while our new employees learned the importance of maintaining the culture that makes The Palm great. The end result has been an incredible team and a unique approach that combines the best aspects of the past and present.”
Longo was the first non-operations person to ever win the prestigious Gigi Award, developed to recognize a lifetime of dedication and loyalty to The Palm. 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. Longo’s favorite “celebrity moment” at The Palm happened when Tom Landry, Tony Dorsett, and the owner of the Dallas Cowboys came into Dallas Palm, and he personally showed Dorsett his caricature.
Prior to joining The Palm, Longo 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. He is an active member of Central Fairfax Services where he helps lead initiatives to help the developmentally challenged. Longo is also involved in the Catholic Business Network and helps develop programs to raise funding for Catholic education. 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 40 years, their four children and four grandchildren.
Jeff Phillips, Chief Operating Officer
Jeff Phillips is Chief Operating Officer of Palm Restaurant Group, where he oversees all Restaurant Operation functions, including financial performance.
The quintessential restaurateur, Phillips joined The Palm family in 1984 as an Assistant Manager in Chicago. 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 East Hampton Palm. In 1989 he opened our Philadelphia Palm as the General Manager, where he still has many loyal guests today. The Chicago Palm welcomed him back in 1995 as their General Manager, and in 1998, Phillips moved to Washington, DC to start 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. In his past and current Operational role, Phillips spearheaded the Palm Hospitality program, which has now become ingrained in the company’s culture. He 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.
Phillips 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 and skiing. He currently resides in Virginia with his wife Karen and their three children Morgan, Shelby & John.
Tony Tammero is the corporate executive chef of The Palm Restaurants, where he specializes in quality control, menu development, and the management of our chefs and kitchen staff. As executive chef, Tony 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.