The recently revived Tavern on the Green in Central Park branches out with a new "to-go" service. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report for NY1.
Central Park is full of vendors serving hot dogs and ice cream, but today, we're showing a nicer to-go option at the new Tavern on the Green.
This iconic restaurant just re-opened, and along with the revamped bar, patio and dining room, the owners included a casual window to service everyday park goers.
"I always thought of Tavern in terms of layers of relationship to the park so if you're here at 7 a.m. and want a super smoothie, you wouldn't go into a restaurant, but you would go to a to-go window. Or you could come here, and we have a full bar, and have some drinks, some charcuterie, and almost feel like you went to a restaurant, but in a more casual way," says co-owner Jim Caiola.
The walk-up window serves soups, sandwiches and sweets that can be enjoyed on a spacious patio. The goal is to dust off Tavern's reputation as a tourist-only spot and open it up to locals.
"We get as many Downtown-ers, who in this context are tourists. They're like 'Where am I? Am I on the West Side?' It's really whoever's in the park that day. There are a lot of tourists, but there are a lot of local New Yorkers in the park," says Caiola.
Another draw for locals? Beverages. You can get juices and coffees, but this is also one of the few places in the park where you can enjoy a full bar in the open air.
"I have two children, and I'm a parent who says 'Ham and cheese, ham and cheese, vodka soda.' The fact that that's so hard to do has always been annoying to me. So I really wanted someone to be able to come to our window and say 'Ham and cheese, ham and cheese, vodka soda, gin and tonic, glass of white wine'—whatever it is that is your pleasure, and not feel that that's unacceptable," Caiola says.
Head inside if you want grandeur, but if you're just looking for a solid bite on your way to Sheep's Meadow or Bethesda fountain, this is a new spot that can't be beat.
The best part is that this is so much better than one of those hot dogs or pretzels you can get elsewhere in the park and also it comes with alcohol, which is good in my book.
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