John Reynolds

Executive Chef

The Palm - San Diego

John Reynolds - Jumbo Nova Scotia Lobster


Palm Restaurant chefs around the country have mirrored the culinary tradition that founders John Ganzi and Pio Bozzi from Parma established in 1926 New York, when the first location opened. Four generations of sons and thirty locations later, the spirit, quality, and product remain unblemished. 

Preserving the legacy of the restaurant founders is all-important — so is maintaining continuity of the restaurant staff in each city. The Palm San Diego’s Executive Chef John Reynolds can attest to that — he’s been with the company for over six years and worked in three different Palm Restaurant locations.

His career with The Palm began with the grand opening of the Atlantic City location in 2004. There he worked for three-and-a-half years before transferring to The Palm Philadelphia, where he worked for another two years. Finally, in late 2009, Reynolds moved to San Diego to assume the role as Executive Chef.

It takes a special talent to recreate the same flavors of an entire menu so that every customer in every city has the same experience. Having worked at Palm Restaurants in the East and West, Reynolds has had the good fortune, and talent, to work side by side with some of the most esteemed veteran chefs in the Palm Restaurant family.

In Reynolds experience, he maintains that the uniformity of the food and hospitality is upheld in every city. He says, “As far as the menu goes, it is extremely consistent and almost exact from store to store.”

The only apparent difference between locations, according to Chef Reynolds, is the vibe. Compared to the other cities Reynolds has worked, he says, “San Diego is very relaxed — it’s much more easy-going and casual.” For San Diegans, this is a compliment — and an astute observation at that, as it accurately defines what life in America’s Finest City is all about — quality of life.  

When asked to define The Palm Restaurant, Chef Reynolds responds, “We are an American steakhouse with an Italian influence. Our Italian dishes that we serve now have been on the menu for over 80 years and are a staple at the Palm. The Italian dishes we serve are all great.”

Food with a fascinating history tends to make a dish taste even better. Sharing a piece of that history with the public was the intent when The Palm Restaurant Cookbook was created. Written by Brigit Binns, readers can recreate recipes by The Palm’s Corporate Executive Chef, Tony Tammero, savor the in-depth stories about each dish, and be entertained by quotes from The Palm Restaurant staff and patrons.

Though The Palm Restaurants are primarily “Surf & Turf” driven, they also shine in the dessert department. In fact, they have a real sweet tooth for divine decadence. Here’s how they do it: “A while back we used to make all of our desserts in-house, when we only had a few stores. While expanding Palms’ across the US and outside the country, we decided to have our desserts made by Sweet Street. That way we produce a consistent and superior product company-wide,” shares Reynolds.

The Palm also makes it possible for guests to enjoy authentic New York cheesecake. They bring the real thing directly to your table via express air. Chef Reynolds reveals, “Our cheesecake is from Rich Products Corporation in Buffalo, New York.”

Catering to the Happy Hour crowd with the “Prime Time - Prime Bites” menu has also hooked many newcomers into becoming regulars and many regulars into becoming frequent fliers. The gourmet offerings such as the Kobe Beef Sliders and Mini Broiled Crab Cakes are served at unheard of prices — just $3.50 per plate. Sound like a temporary promotion? The chef says otherwise, “The great offer is here to stay!”


Restaurant Info

  • 615 J Street
    San Diego CA 92101
  • Restaurant: The Palm - San Diego
  • Address: 615 J Street, San Diego CA 92101
  • Cross Street: 6th Avenue
  • Location: Downtown | East Village
  • Cuisine:
  • Cost: $$$ | Moderate | $50 - $75
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Reservations: Not Available
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Meals Served: Lunch | Dinner |
  • Parking: Street | Public Lot | Valet Parking |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | MasterCard | Discover |
  • Corkage Fee: 25.00 | Per Bottle
  • Phone: (619) 702-6500