Tavern on the Green could be resurrected as chain restaurant

Tavern on the Green, the iconic New York institution that was forced to dim its chandelier lights two years ago due to banckruptcy, may live on as a chain restaurant and brand name for packaged food items, décor and cookware.

According to a report from industry web publication Nation's Restaurant News last week, the landmark restaurant that once stood as an opulent beacon of fine dining in the middle of New York's Central Park could be reborn as a new franchise of chain restaurants if Louis Bivona gets his way.

Bivona, the managing partner of Tavern on the Green's charity-based licensing firm Tavern Direct, told the publication he is considering the idea of reinventing the brand if his $1.3 million bid for intellectual property rights goes through in September.

A bankruptcy court-approved bidding process must first be conducted before the sale is finalized. The auction is expected to be completed in late September.

The trademark rights would enable the new owner to royalty-free use of the name and logo for restaurants outside New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the story says.

The historical restaurant was renowned for creating a 'Fairyland' oasis in the middle of Central Park with strings of white lights wrapped around a fortress of trees, walls of mirrors, Baccarat chandeliers and Tiffany stained glass. It was also known for being a tourist trap.

The building now serves as a visitor center and gift shop, while mobile food trucks are parked outside.

Currently, a line of salad dressings and marinades is sold under the brand Tavern Direct, with 50 cents of every item sold going towards the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Products include barbecue and grilling sauces, balsamic vinegars and flavored oils that range from $8.50 to $28.95.

This May, another New York City institution, Elaine's, closed its doors after being in business for 50 years and serving high-profile dinner guests like Frank Sinatra, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Woody Allen. The closure was described as the end of an era in the city and was also blamed on poor sales.


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