Last Sunday, The Palms Restaurant in Rutland, which has served up Italian-American cuisine since Palm Sunday 1933, celebrated its 75th — never mind having to rebuild after a devastating 1972 fire. The owners are offering a two-person, $75 dinner deal for the occasion. The price includes apps, entrées, dessert and a bottle of wine. The special will be available through the end of the summer, says Beverage Manager Dick Bordonaro.
The resto is currently owned by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of cobbler Giuseppi Sabataso and his wife Giovanina, who launched the place in the midst of the Great Depression.
You can't be around that long without racking up a few exciting stories, and The Palms has its share. For example, the Sabatasos believe their biz was the first in Vermont to have a television. "The receipt for the television is from March 4, 1948. The cost of the television, believe it or not, with the antenna and all the boosters and things, was almost $3000," Bordonaro says — roughly equivalent to the cost of a home at the time. The decision was a good one: The boob tube drew a huge crowd, particularly during Friday-night boxing matches.
According to local lore, The Palms was also the first place in Vermont to make and sell pizza. Bordonaro tells it like this: "One of the owners at the time, he traveled down to Troy, New York. Pizzas were kind of coming north out of New York City, town by town by town. He got a feel for the dough and the sauce and starting making pizzas." That was 1949.