NEW YORK Potential bidders for the operating license on Tavern on the Green in Central Park took their third and final tour of the renowned restaurant and banquet hall Tuesday, about one month before the final deadline for bids.
Ti Adelaide Martin, co-owner of the renowned Commander’s Palace restaurant in New Orleans, and a representative for an unknown French concern were among the bidders taking the final tour of the 25,000-square-foot, fine-dining establishment, which currently is operated by the family of late restaurateur Warner LeRoy.
“Two groups were at the walk-through,” Tavern spokeswoman Shelley Clark said. “One was Commander’s Palace and the other was a representative for a French firm he would not name. In addition, a number of architects and engineers accompanied the two groups.”
Clark also said the deadline for the bids, originally set for May 1 by New York’s Department of Parks and Recreation, has been extended to May 18. She added that the LeRoy family remains hopeful it will retain the right to run Tavern on the Green. The current lease expires Dec. 31.
“Obviously, we can’t speculate,” Clark said. “We’ll just have to dig in and come up with the best plan. There’s just no way to know what’s going to happen.”
According to a report in The New York Times, the LeRoy family owns the Tavern on the Green name and has had it appraised at $19 million. If the family loses the operating contract, the rights to use the Tavern name or the restaurant’s ornate design elements, including the numerous lights and mirrors decorating the space, would not be transferred to the new operator.
Anumber of other restaurateurs, including Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group, Dean Poll of Central Park Boathouse LLC and Drew Nieporent of Myriad Restaurant Group, have expressed interest in taking over the Tavern contract.
The restaurant originally opened in 1934 and the LeRoys have run the operation since 1973. Today, as many as 650,000 diners visit the establishment, which last year reported sales of more than $36 million, according to the Times. The parks department is expected to choose the winning bid in July.