NY's famed Tavern on the Green in bankruptcy

Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:48pm EDT
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By Chelsea Emery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tavern on the Green LLC, operator of the storied restaurant in New York City's Central Park, has filed for bankruptcy protection, a few months before the restaurant is due to change hands and maybe its name.

Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Oz LeRoy said in a statement on Thursday that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing had resulted from the recession and the city's decision not to renew the lease.

Chapter 11 will allow the company to shed some debt while reorganizing.

Tavern on the Green, which opened on October 20, 1934, is expected to operate through December. Dean Poll, who won the license for the location in August, is then due to take over. He has proposed a $25 million renovation.

Poll operates the Boathouse restaurant in Central Park.

The LeRoy family owns the name "Tavern on the Green" and can sell it or keep it, according to Shelley Clark, the restaurant's spokeswoman. She said it was not known what they would do.

Tucked just inside the park off Central Park West, the restaurant is in a Victorian Gothic building erected in 1870 to be a sheepfold. It housed 200 South Down sheep that grazed across the road in Central Park's Sheep Meadow.

Tavern on the Green, one of the few Manhattan restaurants with a parking lot, can seat 1,500 people in six dining rooms, which made it ideal for parties and receptions.   Continued...

<p>The Manhattan skyline is seen beyond Central Park from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York April 30, 2007. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>