Yankee Stadium Food Provider Bids for Tavern on the Green

By Leslie Albrecht on March 30, 2012 12:54pm 

Tavern on the Green's famed dining room in 2009.
Tavern on the Green's famed dining room in 2009.
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Getty Images/Chris Hondros

UPPER WEST SIDE — Maybe they'll change the name to Tavern on the Outfield.

Legends Hospitality, the company that runs Yankee Stadium's food concessions, has submitted a bid for the city contract to operate Central Park's Tavern on the Green, the New York Times reported.

Legends, known for selling garlic fries, hot dogs and Cracker Jack at every Yankee game, also oversees food concessions at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium. Represenatives for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Friday was the deadline to submit offers to run the famed Tavern on the Green, which closed on New Year's Eve 2009 and is being renovated by the city into a much smaller, less glitzy restaurant.

The Parks Department is now looking for an operator to take over the space and run a moderately priced, casual eatery that will serve neighborhood diners and park visitors, instead of catering to fancy affairs like the old Tavern.

The agnecy won't release the names of bidders, or say how many offers were submitted. Officials hope to select a new operator by the end of spring, Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson said.

Also in the running is Beau Monde, a French crepe restaurant from Philadelphia, the Times reported.

Some restaurateurs considered making offers on the iconic Tavern space, but decided against it because the reduced size of the kitchen and dining room would make it difficult to turn a profit, they said.

Donald Trump, who said in 2011 that he wanted to pour $20 million into revamping the storied venue, said he wasn't interested in running a stripped-down version of the once-grand restaurant.

Bill Telepan, chef/owner of upscale restaurant Telepan on West 69th and Columbus Avenue, told DNAinfo he gave serious thought to bidding on Tavern. He envisioned a beautiful restaurant designed by David Rockwell, who designed Nobu and Rosa Mexicano.

But the limited kitchen, storage and dining space made the prospect too daunting financially, Telepan said, adding that "one bad month" could sink the business.

At first it seemed that a takeout counter, which the Parks Department wants at the new Tavern, could boost profits, but Telepan said it didn't add enough to the financial equation.

"You'd need to make 1,000 sandwiches," Telepan said. "Where would you make them, and where would you store them?"

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