The new Tavern on the Green will not resemble the former storied Warner LeRoy restaurant at all. It’s best to get that out of the way right off the bat. Yes, it’s sad, but the great thing about New York is that legends are born all the time. More on that if you take our tour.
It’s been two and a half months since the deadline for proposals to run the new incarnation of the restaurant were due and we’ve heard precious little about who will take over the iconic location. In February of this year, the city invited approximately one hundred restaurateurs to take a tour of the restaurant and learn about their plans for the site, “a casual restaurant, outdoor café, and bar that will honor the original design intent of the Olmsted and Vaux park plan and exist in harmony with its naturalistic park setting.” A ten million dollar renovation will soon restore the building to its original design as a sheepfold. After restoration, it will be approximately 30,000 square feet, nearly half its recent size. The new restaurant will not be allowed to hang lights, play loud music after ten, shut down for private events, or be open after 1am (when the park closes).
This did not sit well with many of the attendees, notably Donald Trump. It is just too small a deal now,” Trump told the New York Times. “Nobody is going to go there.” Trump had planned to rebuild the the Crystal Room. The New York Times wrote a rather detailed article with quotes from many who decided not to submit proposals for the restaurant. The article was quoted by bloggers the internet over claiming that “nobody good will bid on Tavern on the Green” or “only two restaurant groups are interested in running the property.” This may be the case, but it may not.
As we mentioned, about one hundred restaurateurs were invited to take the tour and the Times article mentions nine of these groups, seven of which weren’t interested and two of which were. This means there are a number of groups out there who may have put in bids. Until we’ve heard who is awarded the location, we’re going to compile a list of those who are interested, not interested, and otherwise.
Legends Hospitality:Legends runs the concessions and food and beverage departments for Yankee Stadium, and while they are responsible for some delicious garlic fries, it’s hard to imagine what sort of restaurant they would bring to the table.
Beau Monde: This Philly based restaurant group is responsible for a successful French creperie. However, one has to wonder if they would be able to thrive in New York City, particularly when they might have to work with the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, the union that formerly represented staff at Tavern on the Green and currently represents workers at The Boathouse.
City Winery: The Gotham branch of this Chicago and New York wine bar operates in SoHo and makes its own wine.
B&B Hospitality: Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Joe Bastianich’s restaurant group.
Dave Arnold: of the French Culinary Institute and Booker & Dax bar at Momofuku Ssam Bar
Michael O’Neal: Owner of the Boat Basin
Drew Nieporent: Of Corton and Nobu fame.
Orient-Express Hotels: Owner of the “21” Club;
The Glazier Group: Owns Michael Jordans, Bridgewaters at the South Street Seaport.
Bill Telepan: chef at Telepan
Lawry’s: The steakhouse chain
Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick: of Torrisi Italian Specialties
Dean Poll: Operator of the Boathouse
Donald J. Trump