Success Stories

The Palms Restaurant

Since 1933, four generations of the Sabataso family have satisfied Rutland, VT, locals with hearty, home-style Italian cooking at their restaurant, The Palms. Despite the currently tough economy, the restaurant is “still busier than hell.” Third generation owner John Sabataso credits the watchful eyes of his adult children and the family’s steadfast devotion to consistency, embracing customers, and celebrating their family story!


To many restaurateurs, “consistency” means sticking to ingredient brands known for identical superiority over time. But to the Sabataso family, maximizing food consistency also means limiting their menu offerings to only the pizza and Italian specialties they make best!

Years ago, when the Sabatasos tried to broaden their menu by adding unrelated foods, like burgers and fries, the new items mostly stole sales from existing items. Meanwhile, expanding ingredient inventories to include more slow-moving items made it tougher to prevent “stock-outs,” while maximizing freshness and avoiding costly waste. Furthermore, the time required to ensure each new item was distinctively superior also threatened to divert attention from core items.

So by returning to a tightly focused menu, the Sabatasos increased profits, simplified operations, and freed time to devote more attention to keeping their Italian and pizza specialties at their consistent best!

John Sabataso believes that consistency is also important to building customer relationships. For years, the family has prided itself on recognizing regulars by name and favorite foods. For the same reason, the Sabatasos firmly believe in sticking to their established business hours. That way, even during the nastiest blizzard, a regular who manages to make it to the restaurant can count on a warm greeting and a warmer meal!

The family also takes great pride in their 76 year tradition and makes the most of their restaurant’s colorful history. For example, the bar includes sports memorabilia and photographs of famous visitors who have dined at The Palms Restaurant over the years. In fact, in a unique tradition, the family has long invited notable visitors to permanently autograph the walls of the dining room.

Their takeout menu is unique for two reasons. First, nearly half its space is dedicated to the restaurant’s lengthy history, from Palm Sunday founding (hence the name), to watching “Friday Night Fights” on the restaurant’s ten inch television in the forties, to describing each generation’s contribution to The Palms’ legacy.

Second, menu offerings are enticingly described without prices, to help tourists who are considering a visit recognize The Palms as a unique-to-the-area destination, rather than just another place to eat.

While the Vermont Legislature formally recognized The Palms’ 75th Anniversary last year, the Sabatasos are proudest to see the same satisfied customers come back day after day!