TAMPA, Fla. (TBO.com) - The Palm, a popular meeting place for Tampa's political and business elite, will shut down at WestShore Plaza next Monday, General Manager Mark Colbath said.

The restaurant will maintain its normal hours until it closes on March 24, Colbath said, although it may stay open a bit later to accommodate well-wishers.

Known for its kitschy caricatures of local celebrities, The Palm opened at WestShorePlaza in 2001 and joined a relatively small collection of high-end steakhouses in the WestShore area, including Charley's, Bern's and Shula's. However, the number of upscale steak and seafood houses in that small neck of town has exploded in more recent years, with new players including the Capital Grille, Ocean Prime, Eddie V's, Mitchell's Fish Market and two Brazilian steakhouses, Boizao and Texas de Brazil.

Colbath joked Monday that he'd like to meet the real estate developer who was able to sell land for yet another steakhouse in the WestShore area.

“I want them to sell my house,” he said.

Colbath said he didn't know all the reasons for its pending closure, a decision that came down from the corporate office. However, he said generally that economic conditions were tough and the corporate leadership made a decision to pull back in Tampa.

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