By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — Sunbathers in Central Park's Sheep Meadow won't have to travel far for a $13 quiche this weekend.
A new branch of the ubiquitous Belgian restaurant, Le Pain Quotidien, will open on Saturday at 7 a.m. in the Mineral Springs pavilion, steps away from the park's popular green.
This will be the 21st Le Pain Quotidien location in the city and the first inside Central Park. Another location is planned to open at Teardrop Park in Battery Park City, James Cavanaugh, President and CEO of the Battery Park City Authority, noted at an event on Wednesday.
In addition to its signature breads, the Mineral Springs location will offer diners a selection of boulangerie fare, including soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as beer, waffles and vegan ice cream.
Patrons of the restaurant, near the West 69th Street entrance, can also enjoy free extended-range Wi-Fi and a 100-seat terrace overlooking Sheep Meadow.
Asked how this location would differ from others throughout the city, Alexander Hann, who oversaw the project for the parks department, pointed to a harmony with the site's naturalistic setting.
"One big difference is that the outside will actually match the inside," Hann said, noting the restaurant's use of reclaimed wood to create some of their furniture.
But the restaurant's incorporation into the park was not without its headaches. Le Pain Quotidien abandoned a plan for an illuminated sign above the restaurant after preservationist groups objected.
"The one small exterior piece that they wanted to change took months to approve," Hann explained, referring to the landmark regulations that governed the pavilion's renovation.
The corporation will pay between $150,000 and $300,000, depending on revenue, for use of the coveted public space, according to a statement from the city.