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Does Tavern on the Green not want its own book?

May 22, 2009 |  8:52 am

Tavern on the Green, the Central Park restaurant and lounge, is the subject of the 310-plus page book "Tavern on the Green," which came out in January. At the time, its publisher, Workman Publishing, breathlessly touted the book as "a glorious celebration of the legendary eating spot in Manhattan's Central Park."

Nestled in Central Park, one of the most fabulous settings imaginable, Tavern on the Green has been dazzling generations of New Yorkers and visitors with its inventive, eclectic menu and playful decor. Some 700,000 guests dine every year at this one-of-a-kind restaurant, which has also played host to countless weddings and birthday parties, Broadway opening nights and glamorous afterparties, and many other memorable events.

This enchanting souvenir volume captures all of Tavern on the Green's rich history — from its origins in the 1870s as a shelter for the sheep that grazed in the nearby Sheep Meadow to its reincarnation as a restaurant in the 1930s and rebirth in the 1970s as the glistening jewel of the great restaurateur/showman Warner LeRoy.

Well, the shine is off the jewel; Wednesday the New York Post reported that Workman has sued Tavern on the Green for more than $200,000 for "allegedly going back on a deal to buy 10,000 copies of their own book, 'Tavern on the Green,' the suit claims."

But the book lawsuit is just one of the restaurant's challenges. Its 20-year contract for the property is up on Dec. 31 of this year, and this week at least two other restaurateurs joined the LeRoy family in submitting proposals -- and $50,000 checks -- to compete for an operating license for the next two decades.

If the LeRoy's tenure at Tavern on the Green does by chance come to an end in December, then maybe they'll have wanted those books after all -- they'll be collectors items.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo of Tavern on the Green by phenominam via Flickr