Union Square Pavilion Restaurant Opens After Court Victory

By Heather Holland on May 1, 2014 4:09pm | Updated on May 1, 2014 5:33pm

UNION SQUARE — A restaurant in the Union Square pavilion opened for the first time on Thursday, after years of legal battles over whether it should be allowed in the park.

The restaurant, dubbed The Pavilion after its location, offers a simple menu of entrees inspired by ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket, including a roasted organic chicken, made with fingerling and purple potato and broccoli rabe, according to Michelle Gralitzer, a spokeswoman for Chef Driven, which owns the restaurant.

Other main dishes include a tomato soup with sourdough croutons and herb crème fraiche, and an organic salmon green pot au feu, made with fennel, pearl onion, baby carrots, shitake mushrooms and tomato.

Community members filed multiple lawsuits against the restaurant's operator and the city over the past few years, hoping to stop the eatery from opening. The opponents argued that the restaurant was taking over space that should have been open to the public for free.

But in the end the city prevailed and the restaurant was allowed to open inside of the pavilion, located at 20 Union Square West on the north end of the park.

The Pavilion’s executive chef, Mario Urgiles, created the entrée menu, Gralitzer said. He has worked for the restaurant’s operator Simon Oren, for many years, she said.

The restaurant’s cocktails will also feature some ingredients from the greenmarket, including the one called Park Side, which is made with light and dark rum, fresh mint and lime, guava foam and local pollen.

For dessert, the restaurant will serve items including chocolate beet cake, made with blueberry-beet meringue, crème fraiche, blueberries and beet sorbet.

The restaurant is open from 5 p.m. to midnight every day, but the hours will change from 8 a.m. to midnight in coming weeks, Gralitzer said.

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