Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The iconic Central Park eatery Tavern on the Green is back in business, five years after going bankrupt. Its new owners removed the Los Vegas-style glitz of the former tourist trap and replaced them with Victorian Gothic details, dark wood and an open kitchen.
The city spent about $20 million to gut the building and replace the stone roof and the electrical and plumbing systems. The new owners invested about $18 million to install a massive open kitchen and restore the historic facade and original architecture.
The menu also underwent a revitalization; it now focuses on locally-sourced ingredients like Smoked Montauk Bluefish Pate from Narragansett, RI.
"The notion of a tavern to me is about a hearth and open fire and comfort, and that's what I want people to experience when they walk in," said Executive Chef Katy Sparks. It's "about the food," she added.
"Yes, it's a destination, it's a historic destination, but it's also a restaurant," she said.
The South Wing of the dining room will be open for diners and will be available for private events. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
Gold leaf mirrors in the dining rooms. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
Views of the kitchen from the Central Park room. The dining rooms seat a total of 350 people. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
Views of the park from the Central Park Room. There will seating outdoors for 300-500 people. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
A horse chandelier in the Bar Room. This room will always be open to the public. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
Sheep head carvings pay homage to The Tavern on the Green's history as a sheepfold in the 1880s. It was renovated and turned into a restaurant in 1934 when Robert Moses was the parks commissioner. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
Executive Chef Katy Sparks plans to focus on locally-sourced ingredients and creating more artisanal menus than the previous restaurant. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
The new logo for the newly-renovated restaurant. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)