Posted back in February that the city had started the process of selecting a new operator for the historic Tavern On The Green in Central Park.
Yesterday the Park & Recreation department announced a 20-year license has been awarded to Emerald Green Group for “the operation and maintenance of a high-quality casual restaurant and outdoor café.”
The new Tavern On The Green is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.
Emerald Green Group operates a nightclub, L’Etage and a crêperie, Beau Monde, in Philadelphia, housed in one building on Philadelphia’s hopping South Street, known for its bars and entertainment venues.
“They have done an outstanding job with Beau Monde and their vision for the iconic Tavern on the Green will create a casual restaurant and outdoor café that everyday park-goers, neighbors and visitors can enjoy,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
The executive chef will be a seasoned New Yorker, Katy Sparks, who has worked at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, Bolo and the Quilted Giraffe and was the executive chef for catering company Great Performances. Most recently she ran a consulting business.
“The hope is that it will not be only a destination, but a place that will serve the neighborhood and locals who use the park every day,” said Katy Sparks, the new executive chef, who has worked in New York City since the 1980s.
Although the footprint of the restaurant will be smaller than the final incarnation of the old Tavern on the Green, there will, nonetheless, be room for 300 guests inside, an additional 200 to 300 outside and a takeout window selling smoothies, sandwiches and picnic fare.
The city, not the Emerald Green Group, is paying the nearly $10 million bill for the structural and exterior work that will restore the building to its original design. It was built by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould in the 19th century as a sheepfold for the 200 sheep that grazed in the Sheep Meadow nearby. As parks commissioner in the 1930s, Robert Moses converted the building into a (low-earning) restaurant, and in the 1970s, the impresario Warner LeRoy transformed it into a glittering, rococo showpiece. But business faltered in the economic downturn of the past several years; the Crystal Room, which was built over the original building’s courtyard, was dismantled in 2010.
DNAinfo notes the new operators are taking steps to ensure there are no labor disputes:
The Emerald Green Group has signed a letter of agreement with the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO, which provides the terms under which union representation and bargaining will be addressed, Parks officials noted.
When Central Park Boathouse operator Dean Poll was poised to take over Tavern in 2009, his bid fell apart after failing to reach an agreement with the union.
Concessions made by Mr. Poll last September finally ended the ongoing labor dispute at The Boathouse.
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Tags: Beau Monde, Central Park, Central Park Boathouse, David Salama, Dean Poll, Emerald Green Group, Jim Caiola, Katy Sparks, L'Etage, new Tavern On The Green operator, New York City, NYC, Tavern on the Green, Upper West Side, UWS