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BEST CHAIN RESTAURANT Miami 2005 - The Palm

Readers' Choice: Readers' Choice: Cheesecake Factory

BEST CHAIN RESTAURANT The Palm 9650 E. Bay Harbor Drive

Bay Harbor Islands

305-868-7256

and

4425 Ponce de Leon Boulevard

Coral Gables

786-552-7256

www.thepalm.com McDonald's? KFC? Quizno's? Get your mind out of the gutter and onto a higher plane. "Chain" doesn't have to imply plain, plastic, and cheap, just that there are lots of restaurants with the same name and ownership. The Palm has 31 locations, including two in Miami-Dade County, and if that makes it a small, exclusive chain, so be it. "Best" is based on quality, not quantity. What is quality? A succulent three-pound lobster so large you'll wonder if shellfish have taken to steroids. A prime dry-aged porterhouse so sublime you'll start planning interventions for your vegetarian friends. Creamed spinach that would have Popeye stuttering with delight. Also, The Palm has been around far longer than these other, Johnny-come-lately-and-cheaply franchises. In fact no restaurant in America has been run by the same family for as long. The grandsons of the original New York owners now operate the national string of posh eateries. Washington lobbyists know that The Palm is one of the most likely places to find potent politicians power-lunching in our nation's capital, but don't hold that against the Bay Harbor or Coral Gables Palms -- they're just two tasteful links in the chain.

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