Bidders Check Out Tavern On The Green
Tavern on the Green in New York City's Central Park may have been the second highest grossing restaurant in the U.S. last year but that doesn't make it immune to sale. On Tuesday, potential bidders for Tavern on the Green's operating license took the third of three fact-gathering tours. The restaurant's operating license expires December 31 but interested parties only have until May 18 to submit proposals and $50,000 bid deposits to compete for the license.
The 25,000-square-foot restaurant in Central Park has been a tourist draw for decades. One thing that doesn't come with the license to operate the restaurant is its famous name. The name has been owned by the LeRoy family since 1973. Restaurateur Warner LeRoy took over the restaurant's lease in 1974 but the first incarnation of Tavern on the Green as a restaurant dates back to 1934 when Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia opened the restaurant with a brass key. Le Roy reopened the restaurant in 1976 after $10 million in renovations. Since LeRoy's death in 2001, it has been managed by his daughter, Jennifer Oz LeRoy. The NY Times reports that Michael Desiderio, Tavern's chief operating officer, said last month that the name "Tavern on the Green" had been appraised at $19 million.
Parks officials are planning to select the winner of the license by July. While the restaurant brings in millions of dollars each year it also has substantial overhead and that could increase. The Times says that under the terms of its current license, the LeRoy family is required to pay 3.5 percent of its gross receipts to the city but more recent licenses for other businesses often demand a larger percentage. The restaurant also could use a bit of refreshing. But for potential bidders the promise of a restaurant that is a guaranteed draw is pretty alluring.