Since legendary New York City restaurant Tavern on the Green filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy two years ago, the most hotly contested issue has been the ownership of the trademark “Tavern on the Green.” A settlement between the City of New York and the bankruptcy trustee was announced recently, and it gives the city the right to continue to use the name “Tavern on the Green” as well as exclusive use of the name for restaurant services in the city.
The trustee, meanwhile, may sell the estate’s rights to a third party through a court-approved sale process; this will allow the eventual buyer to use the name and logo of the restaurant outside the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and part of Pennsylvania), as well as on various products. Twenty-five percent of the net proceeds of that sale will go to the city. Even after the sale, the city will retain exclusive rights to the name for restaurant and bar services in New York City.
Most notably for Tavern on the Green fans, the settlement does allow for the possibility that the city and a private buyer may once again work together in reopening the restaurant.
Tavern on the Green has been a New York City landmark in Central Park since its opening in 1934. The restaurant portion closed at the end of 2009 after the bankruptcy filing, and currently the building holds a visitors’ center and gift shop managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
When the restaurant closed its doors, Tavern on the Green also lost one of its most notable features: the Crystal Room, which was glass-enclosed and overlooked the restaurant’s Central Park garden; it has been removed and is now the site of food trucks for Central Park visitors. (While tourists might have fond memories of the bygone institution, many New Yorkers will tell you that the food trucks have better food than the Tavern did—at least towards the end.)
Do you have any special Tavern on the Green memories to share? Would you like to see it come back as a restaurant?