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Eat and Drink

Tavern on the Green reopening: what you didn't know

After being closed for more than four years, Central Park's iconic restaurant, Tavern on the Green, is set to reopen its doors for dinner on April 24, and will celebrate a full grand opening on May 13.
While the NYC staple strives to bring back the elegance of yore with classic decor and sweeping Central Park views, it's throwing lots of new twists into the mix. Here are 10 things you may not have expected.

1. The old restaurant is gone without a trace... almost

The main idea behind the new Tavern on
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

The main idea behind the new Tavern on the Green is to bring back the Victorian Gothic splendor of its original 1934 building, but no actual remnants from the former restaurant were saved, except for one element: the exposed wooden beams in the ceiling. As you dine, be sure to look up for a glimpse of history (and don't worry, they've recently been reinforced).

2. There's an homage to the Central Park carousel

David Salama, one of the restaurateurs behind the
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

David Salama, one of the restaurateurs behind the new Tavern on the Green, built the horses in this chandelier by hand to hang over his newborn daughter's crib six years ago. But when he realized the final product was too fancy to hang as a mobile, it ended up tucked away on a shelf. Once the restaurant design started to form, he knew the Central Park-inspired horses needed to find a home within its walls.

3. Out with the old means in with new views

Central Park is at your fingertips at the
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Central Park is at your fingertips at the new Tavern on the Green in a way it never was before, since the former Crystal Room, which was covered in topiaries and light fixtures, has been swapped out for the aptly-named Central Park Room, with seating facing an entirely exposed glass wall. The room looks out at Sheep Meadow and the skyline of Central Park West, and also lets park visitors get a view of the restaurant that hasn't been visible for about 40 years.

4. The lights are dim for a reason

You won't find any flashy lighting at the
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

You won't find any flashy lighting at the new Tavern on the Green, and that's not to save money on electric bills. The idea is to evoke the ambiance of 1934, when electricity was less advanced. The globes on each light, made to look like vintage gas lamps, were all created by American glassblowers. The same globes are used on the ceiling fixtures, along with glass sourced from antique windows.

5. This Tavern will be extra green

Forty new trees, 400 shrubs and plenty of
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Forty new trees, 400 shrubs and plenty of perennials are being planted in the area surrounding the new Tavern on the Green, in an effort to repair a section of the park that has been largely left in disarray since the restaurant originally closed.

6. Less storage space equals fresher food

The one-floor kitchen's new hearth ovens, planchas and
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

The one-floor kitchen's new hearth ovens, planchas and grills leave little storage space, so fresh food will be delivered one to three times per day-- including lots of seasonal vegetables and farm-raised proteins.

7. Private events will be limited to this room

The old Tavern on the Green was very
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

The old Tavern on the Green was very much driven by private parties, but the same won't hold true for its successor. Events that can fit into the intimate 120-seat South Wing are welcome, small-scale weddings included, but they will not close the entire restaurant for events.

8. There will be a take-out window, and you can get alcohol

It doesn't look like much now, but this
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

It doesn't look like much now, but this window will serve as "Green to Go," a spot where customers can grab a bite and enjoy it in the park or at a public seating area provided by the restaurant. It will be open from about 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will serve house-made salads, smoothies, paninis and alcoholic beverages. (Note: This may very well be the classiest you'll ever feel with a road soda in hand.)

9. There are bugs... but not the bad kind

Keeping in tune with the old-time touches, mirrored
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Keeping in tune with the old-time touches, mirrored panels lining the South Wing are decorated with hand-painted leaves and branches by Philadelphia-based artist Miriam Ellner. To "bring the outside in," Ellner hid a few lady bugs and butterflies sporadically throughout her paintings, but you'll have to search to find them.

10. The fireplace is watching you

The focal point of the Bar Room is
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

The focal point of the Bar Room is a scagliola fireplace, made to look like marble, with two carved sheep heads staring out at eye level. The sheep are an ode to their wooly ancestors, who were housed inside the building from the 1880s to the 1930s, before it was first converted into a restaurant.

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