The Return of Tavern on the Green?

Tavern on the Green
Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green was arguably the most famous restaurant in New York. The one time sheepfold turned upscale eatery was the highest grossing restaurant in the country when the operators filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Since that time tourists and New Yorkers alike have speculated about Tavern’s future.

Tavern on the Green was never know for its food. Several Yelp reviews sound like this one from Heather H, “certainly a beautiful restaurant, but this place provided me with one of the worst, overpriced, slowest served, least exciting meals I’ve ever had in the entirety of my life.” Instead visitors came for the one of a kind ambiance. The restaurant offered six dining rooms each uniquely decorated with stained glass, sculptures, topiaries, chandeliers, and lots of crystal. Unfortunately Tavern had to auction off everything to pay their debtors.

Shortly after the restaurant closed, the city renovated the building and reopened it as a visitor’s center. They also made contracts with four food trucks that would sit in Tavern’s courtyard: Rickshaw Dumplings, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, Pera Turkish Taco and Ladle of Love (which left due to low profits). Some members of the Central Park Conservancy expressed their excitement about the renovation stating that it was now closer to how the building looked when it was a sheepfold. But it seemed most continued to mourn the loss of the restaurant.

Tavern on the Green Interior
Tavern on the Green Interior

Guests of our Central Park tour regularly ask us whether it will ever open as a restaurant again. Till this point, Tavern on the Green’s fate has been shrouded in mystery. Then, this month something very interesting happened. Food truck operators were told that their contracts with the city were unlikely to be renewed and that they should plan on closing down on October 15th. “They said there’s a capital project being planned.” Burak Karacam, managing owner of the Pera Turkish Tacos truck told the Wall Street Journal.

Crain’s New York reported earlier this month that the mayor’s office requested reports on Tavern’s “current conditions” from the Department of Design and Construction. But Andrew Brent, spokesperson for Mayor Bloomberg’s office say that the city is merely “doing basic stabilization and renovation work” to Tavern on the Green and say there are “no specific plans” for its future.

To add to all of this, Dean Poll, owner of the Boathouse restaurant in Central Park issued a statement via a spokesman Frank Marino after settling a 44 day labor dispute today. “Dean continues to have a strong interest in Tavern on the Green and this agreement with the Hotel Trades Council certainly lays out a blueprint for a future deal at Tavern should the opportunity present itself.”

Is Tavern on the Green destined to once again become a restaurant? We’d like to hear from you. Feel free to share your comments below.

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