Nothing embodied the gaudy excess of New York's restaurants more than Central Park's Tavern on the Green. But today the restaurant is up-for-grabs and no one seems to be grabbing.
In short, after thirty some years as the over-the-top child of the family of Warner LeRoy, a film director with a weirdly Wizard of Oz obsessed daughter, the City put out a call for bids for new licensees/operators of the place. Initially, hundreds of investors expressed interest in taking over the place. Among them the accursed Cipriani family, Danny Meyer, David Liederman (of David's Cookies and Chez Louis) as well as the LeRoy family—headed by Jennifer Oz LeRoy—and Seth Greenberg, the devil who is behind downtown event space Capitale and the obviously named space Espace. But today the interested parties had to pony up $50,000 in "earnest money" to move ahead in the process. Big surprise: Everyone is all talk. Jesus, it's just like Housewives of New York City. The part where everyone talks about charity but no one actually gives.
Out of the running: The Cipriani family who has problems of their own. Danny Meyer who thought "Aw, fuck it." and David Liederman who must have taken a look around the city and the economy and thought better of being saddled by an ornate outdated restaurant. So whose left? Just, as far as we can tell, LeRoy and Greenburg which means The Tavern on the Green will either continue being what it is now: a temple to mediocre food and bad taste, the musty rococo vulva of your grandmother, or it may turn into a sleek event space with the food cutout all together. Either way, it's not great news.
Our suggestion: What about letting the Tavern revert back to what it started as, a sheepfold? It could be like I Am Legend but gentler and without zombies.
[Photo from the MIN Awards at Tavern on the Green in November 2007. Ha!]