By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on September 15, 2009 10:00 AM
New York City’s legendary Tavern on the Green restaurant was ready to enter a new chapter this coming January when it switched to new ownership—but one chapter people might not have been anticipating was Chapter 11: The current owner, Jennifer LeRoy, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. LeRoy’s family has operated Tavern on the Green for almost 35 years. She blames the bankruptcy filing on the current recession, as well as the city's decision to give the restaurant’s license to new owners. The 75-year-old restaurant is due to pass into the hands of Dean Poll, who also runs Central Park’s Boathouse restaurant, in four months. Twenty creditors and the money owed to them are listed in the federal bankruptcy filing: they include some that might be expected, such as almost $80,000 owed to American Express and close to $2 million owed to the New York Hotel Trades Council. There are other debts, however, that show that just as the rich are different from you and me; clearly, high-end restaurants are as well: More than $53,000 is owed to Atlanta’s Buckhead Beef, and (wait for it) $26,299 is due to Urbani Truffles. In a somewhat ironic footnote, the public might be interested to know that the 19th- century building originally housed sheep. The Sheep Meadow was originally called "The Green," so the restaurant, when it originally opened in 1934 (yes,the sheep had left by then), was christened "Tavern on the Green."