Tavern on the Green returning this month

A view of Tavern on the Green as renovations are nearing completion.
A view of Tavern on the Green as renovations are nearing completion. Photo Credit: Myles Aronowitz

One of New York City’s most famous restaurants is gearing up to make a comeback this month.

After being closed for more than four years, Central Park’s Tavern on the Green will open for dinner beginning on April 24.

The restaurant will open for brunch on Mother Day’s weekend, May 10 and 11. It will be fully open beginning May 13 and offer lunch, dinner and brunch.

The eatery features a new interior, following a two-year renovation effort funded by the city.

Phil Abramson, a spokesman for the Parks Department, said the city saw a need for more services and amenities in Central Park and wanted a restaurant that would “act in harmony” with the surrounding parkland.

The building, which is owned by the city, was restored to its original 1930s size, according to Abramson. Renovations also included structural work and the restoration of some of the building’s facades as well as its original Victorian Gothic architecture.

The structure is said to now reflect the site’s original purpose as a sheepfold in the late 1800s.

The restaurant had operated from 1934 until 2009, when its former owners filed for bankruptcy and the doors were shuttered.

“There is nothing in there that resembles anything that has been there before,” said Steven Hall, a spokesman for Tavern on the Green. “The only thing that remains from the past is the name.”

Dishes will feature seasonal, straightforward American cooking using farm-fresh ingredients, Hall said.

The restaurant will be accessible to guests seven days a week, rather than closing for weddings, bar mitzvahs and other private events. And while the interior is smaller, there will be more outdoor seating available. There will also be a section dedicated for walk-ins.

“Tavern on the Green is going to be a restaurant for everyone, New Yorkers and visitors alike,” Hall said. “We want people to adopt it just as they do any other neighborhood restaurant.”

Geoffrey Croft is the president of New York City Park Advocates, a watchdog group that has been critical of the amount of money the city has invested into the project.

He said the the budget for the renovations has grown since the initial proposal of the project — and it is up to the city’s taxpayers to foot the bill.

“The building definitely needed a lot of work, but I think they vastly underestimated how much that was going to cost,” Croft said.