By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on March 11, 2010 11:00 AM
The never-ending saga of New York’s Tavern on the Green sale and potential loss of name (reported extensively here since last summer…) actually has an end--at least in part. A judge ruled yesterday that the city, not the operators of the restaurant, holds the rights to the famous name, which has been valued at $19 million. The restaurant closed New Year’s Eve after a long series of legal problems that culminated in an auction of all the furnishings. More than 20,000 items were up for sale; the high bid was $180,000 for a Tiffany glass ceiling. The court-ordered auction was held to help erase the owners’ $8 million in debt. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum ruled that the city had licensed the facility and retained control. That included the right to end the license if it found that the restaurant was not being operated in a satisfactory manner. The “Tavern on the Green” name has been associated with a Central Park restaurant since 1934. Prior to the recent recession, the restaurant had been one of the most famous in the country. It brought in $38 million a year in revenues, and served a staggering 700,000 meals a year. The license was awarded last August to Dean Poll, who operates the Boathouse restaurant in Central Park. He won the license after the LeRoy family, which had operated the restaurant sine the 1970s, lost its bid renew the lease. He still plans to reopen the restaurant this spring. He will spend $25 million to refurbish the space, which clocks in at 27,000 square feet.