Long one of Manhattan’s most storied restaurants, Tavern on the Green in Central Park was an institution from its initial opening in 1934 until its closing in 2009 — and on Thursday, April 24, it will open its doors again.
“Tavern on the Green is an iconic restaurant, in Central Park, in New York, and in the world,” co-proprietor Jim Caiola tells NewYork.com. “We’ve brought in world-class artisans to make the interior appropriate and elegant to the Victorian Gothic style, and our food will celebrate the diversity of New York’s culinary culture.”
For decades, the West 67th Street restaurant hosted actors and politicians, local notables of all sorts, and its place in the New York consciousness could not be overstated. But the financial crisis fell hard on Tavern on the Green, as so many other places, leading to its bankruptcy filing in 2009.
Five years later, it’s about to be reopened by Philadelphia restaurant partners Jim Caiola and David Salama, with Katy Sparks in the kitchen. Their reenvisioning of the Tavern is intended to bring the venue into the 21st century, with a distinctly modern menu — prioritizing seasonal vegetables and local products, many cooked over two hearth ovens that anchor either side of the kitchen.
As for the restaurant itself? After a two-year renovation, the building has been updated, but many key elements were retained, including the classic brick exterior and the iconic red canopy entrance. Within, there’s the 110-seat entry garden, 150-seat bar room, 140-seat atrium Central Park room and the glass-enclosed 300-seat courtyard — with views out onto Central Park West and the famed Sheep Meadow.