Maybe this time it'll stick? The Parks Department has confirmed to us that the city has found itself a new restaurateur to run the controversial restaurant in the pavilion on the north side of Union Square. And naturally, locals are getting ready to fight again.
When we talked about the pavilion last year, the Parks Department had decided that actually former TriBeCa Grill chef Don Pintabona wasn't the right guy to run the restaurant. Six months later the city has apparently picked Simon Oren's Chef Driven Market, LLC (which runs everything from 5 Napkin Burger to Pigalle) to run the space. The city has reportedly signed a 15-year deal for the company to run a seasonal restaurant in the space:
The pricey eatery and bar would be open from 7 am to 12 midnight and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Brunch prices up to $ 19.95 with omelets up to $17.95; dinner entrées from $ 13.95 to $ 33.95; and breakfast fair up to $ 15.95, and deserts for $ 14.95 according to the schedule of approved menu items and pricing plan.
The facility would be open from April 15 - October 15th - when the public's need for and use of park space is the greatest.
Chef Driven Market LLC promises to "take full advantage of the locally grown and produced fresh food sold at the Union Square Greenmarket" in the project, but what will be most interesting to critics of the plan—who want the space to be used for young park goers and not wealthy diners—is that it will let the restaurant expand into the plaza north of the pavilion for a 17' outdoor seating area which "shall have a cordoned off portion for serving alcoholic beverages." But don't worry! The plan calls for the restaurant to "make every effort to keep alcohol consumption discrete." Brown paper bags with your beer, sir?
The restaurant is required to employ at least 99 people, including 40 servers and assistants, 19 kitchen staff, 7 bartenders, and 3 security staff. As part of the deal it will pay the city either 10 percent of annual gross receipts or a minimum annual fee that starts at $300,000 and rises to $453,777 in the 15th year. That sound you hear? That is the sound of the Union Square Community Coalition, which wants the space to be "a sheltered, indoor recreation center that serves a variety of year-round recreation and free public uses" (like these), getting ready to rally the troops.
You can see a concept menu for the new spot here: