Famed D.C. Restaurateur Jeffrey Gildenhorn Chokes To Death At The Palm

Jeffrey Gildenhorn, the renowned owner of the American City Diner in Washington, D.C., died Wednesday, June 28, after choking to death during a meal at the Palm, his family said. He was 74.


The American City Diner was closed Thursday, with a handwritten sign in the window announcing that the staff was overwhelmed with grief and the restaurant would be closed until further notice while the staff mourned "the loss of our dear boss, friend, neighbor, family loving employer, Jeffrey Gildenhorn."


Gildenhorn opened his 1950s-style diner in 1989. In 1988 he had run for mayor of Washington, D.C., but he lost in the primary. A sign in the restaurant quotes him as saying, "I may not have been elected mayor, but I'm still serving the people."

That mayoral run was not Gildenhorn's last political statement, either. In 2015 the American City Diner came out with a "Trump Sandwich," which was an enormous bologna sandwich described as being "big enough to fit in Trump's mouth." Each sandwich contained a full pound of bologna, which was brought into the restaurant just for the idea of making a Trump-themed sandwich that was full of bologna.

"Normally, we don't even carry bologna," Gildenhorn said at the time.


Gildenhorn was known for his political humor, and his restaurant was particularly famous in its neighborhood for posting funny messages under its neon sign.

According to The Washington Post, Gildenhorn died Wednesday night after choking during a meal at the Palm restaurant. He was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, but he had already died.

"All of us in the Palm Restaurant family are saddened over the loss of our longtime friend and patron, Jeffrey Gildenhorn," Palm spokesperson Michael Melore said in a statement. "He was an institution in our city and at our restaurant. We applaud the effort and quick response of the medical response team. Our thoughts are with Mr. Gildenhorn's family and friends."


Click here to see the 12 foods you're most likely to choke on.