And the next chapter in the never ending saga of Tavern on the Green begins! After its brief stint as a boozy food truck parking lot the storied Central Park restaurant is going to be a restaurant again. In theory. The Parks Department today released a Request For Proposals for a new operator for the space. Once the city is done doing some more construction on the space (which does not include the return of the late Crystal Room) it could be a "a high-quality casual restaurant, outdoor cafe and bar" by 2013!
The proposal is pretty much what you expect of the project, which Comptroller Liu points out has already cost the city millions in lost revenue. They want the new eatery to be casual, but quality and accessible to the public but also good for hosting events (so probably not an Olive Garden). The restaurant must be called Tavern on the Green and the operator will not get to own that name. Restaurateurs are expected to play friendly with unions (since that's what ruined Dean Poll's plans for the space) and the Parks Department has final say on uniforms—so no Hooters Presents Tavern on the Green, presumably. Here is the Parks Dept.'s dream laid out plain:
Parks is seeking proposals that offer dining amenities for the millions of annual visitors to Central Park. Proposals should make creative use of the space, keeping in mind that Parks envisions Tavern on the Green as a destination for everyday visitors to the park, with a vibrant bar scene and high quality, casual dining options. Parks will allow the concessionaire to operate a small gift shop.
Parks envisions venues for food service within the space that could include: a casual, moderately priced restaurant; a bar space for park visitors to meet and gather for a drink and small plates; and a café for full service and/or self-service operation with both indoor and outdoor seating. A take-away window could be utilized in conjunction with the café, offering pre-packaged foods and beverages to go. With a focus on serving visitors to the park and the surrounding community, this restaurant is envisioned as a neighborhood dining destination.
Not enough restaurant talk for you? The full RFP is below. But our question is, by the time somebody (anybody!) gets around to reopening the stripped-down Tavern, will anybody care? Honestly, at this point we're much more anxious about the fact that another New York treasure, the Rainbow Room, is still closed.