The Palm/Swissotel Chicago

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The Palm is known for serving large steak and seafood entrees to a devoted crowd of carnivores. Portraits of some of the regulars, famous and not-so-famous, line the walls, along with characters from well-known comics strips. When the original Palm Restaurant opened on New York's Second Avenue in 1926, it was a popular place with newspaper reporters, artists and writers. Some comic strip artists paid for their meals by leaving a sample of their work on the walls. The tradition continued when the Palm opened in Chicago in 1981. (Some of the old walls were transferred intact to the new location.) The Palm's big drinks, steaks and other dishes can be enjoyed in three different dining rooms. The front room, just off the bar area, packs a number of straight-backed booths into a tight space. The back room is more open and is lit softly by a series of lamps that line the walls. Up the stairs is a room with a spectacular view of Navy Pier, which is reserved for private parties of up to 50.