Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner in our contest to re-conceptualize the venerable, yet inedible, Tavern on the Green. No one wanted to give it to Trump, everyone wanted to give it to Chang, Meyer, McNally or all three, and greater than one entry called for a mini golf course. This was a wild ride, friends, and we thank everyone who participated.
First Runner-Up: The BruniBetting Parlor. The bar is a sports bar, with live updated odds on the upcoming Bruni reviews. You would be allowed to wager your bar tab on the number of stars and particular Bruni truns of phrase in the next review. The restaurant would serve highlights of the best in the city - selecting the favorite dishes of the chefs from restaurants receive 2 stars or more from the Frankster.
Second Runner-Up: Ok, here goes - Alinea on the Green - Grant Achatz in the park. He's pretty much the apostle of new cooking already, so let's give him a stage where he's guaranteed an audience that'll eat whatever he serves. Before long, people in Nebraska will be bringing home ridiculously high concept peanut butter and jelly - it'll be a mass evangelization, the likes of which haven't been seen since the last time somebody ate a bad mushroom in the desert. Think of the cross-town rivalries to be had with Thomas Keller and Jean-Georges. People will be lining up to buy merchandise showing their affiliation - maybe there'll even be a satellite branch in CitiField when it opens - hot dogs with foam emulsions of mustard.
And here now, the Tavern on the Green 2.0 Concept that won proud conceptualizer Christopher Chan 2 free Bubba Fast Passes to the Big Apple BBQ Block Party:
'Green Tavern' Concept
Transitioning Tavern on the Green into a successful working model of green restaurant
Instead of Tavern on the Green, how about a reconceptualization of the Tavern into something more natural in concept and in practice.
Central Park, a bustling oasis providing both New Yorkers and visitors alike it's own rendition of nature. In revamping Tavern on the Green, why not recreate the dining experience to reflect a re-greening process that is necessary for future generations of restaurateurs, customers and people alike.
Why not rename 'Tavern on the Green' to 'The Green Tavern'. The Green Tavern would represent many of the ideas and concepts that both real estate developers, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs are only starting to incorporate into their businesses. If one of the highest grossing restaurants in the nation could successfully make such a transition, it would serve as an ideal green business model for different businesses to emulate.
1) Green Cuisine - This type of cuisine would be equated with local and seasonal sustainable produce and proteins grown and raised without pesticides, hormones and unnatural methods. A chef like Dan Barber from Blue Hill Stone Barns would be ideal since he is both familiar and experienced with what it takes to bring food from the farm to the dining table. His knowledge and experience would allow him to select food vendors who would provide quality products grown and raised they way they should be. Food selection would be the first challenge, the second challenge would be to prepare the foods in such as way as to highlight all that is good about the foods being used. Chef Barber would be an ideal chef for this restaurant since his experience at Blue Hill Stone Barns would would be a perfect stepping stone to this restaurant which pose the challenge of providing organic and sustainable food to a much larger customer base. Chef Barber would have his choice of the particular style of cooking that would be performed in the kitchen.
2) Green Thinking - These days, kindergarteners are being encouraged to bring in litter-free snacks with the promise that when all of the class members bring in at least one litter-free snack, they will enjoy the award of a party that day. With this kind of positive reinforcement, this particular class has kids encouraging their folks to not put individually packaged snacks and drinks into their lunches. To date, 4 children have kept the kindergarten class from their winning party, but pressure from their litter-free-snack-toting classmates is building and it's just a matter of time. Organizations like the Green Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association are bringing awareness to restaurateurs about how to conserve energy, water and natural resources, increase recycling, and encourage the use of sustainable materials and alternative energy sources to reduce operational costs. Initial costs may be higher, but in the long run, cost savings and the environmental benefits will be beneficial to both the businesses and society at large.
3) Green improvements - The physical structure of the Green Tavern does not need to be completely renovated, but additions can be made to assist in the greening of the structure. The 40 foot Garden Bar was created with trees harvested from New York City Parks, a bar that was definitely before it's time. The topiaries speak for themselves. Any new additions or structural improvements would take into consideration green building concepts with the possible advantage of having subsidies or tax breaks.
3) Green business practices - The restaurant would adopt recycling policies, be free of polystyrene products, adopt energy and water-efficient technologies, buy sustainable foods, start composting, use recycled, tree-free , biodegradable and organic products and educate staff members about the importance of running an ecologically sustainable operation.
5) Green energy usage - Installed solar panels would increase energy efficiency by providing the energy needed to light the restaurant in the evenings. A company such as OfficePowerLLC could also assist by providing the building with additional power at no additional cost to the owners by installing distributed energy generation units on premises.
6) Green service - Taking the green concept to a natural direction, green service would describe the type of service that people would enjoy since the customers would be respected and taken care of by staff members. The only way this could be achieved, is by having management first take care of the staff. Using the philosophy and practices of Union Square Hospitality Group would be enable the restaurant to provide the level of service that would make customers happy and keep them coming back. For this reason, it would be ideal to have Danny Meyer's organization either handle the staffing and management of the restaurant or be involved in setting it up. Staff would be taken care of and not abused or taken for granted. Opportunities for growth and health benefits would be provided to full time staff members.
7) In the Green - In the end, a restaurant must be financially viable. For this to happen, costs need to be controlled and the restaurant must be operated well by both management and staff. With the concepts proposed and the proper financing, the Green Tavern could well serve as a successful and profitable restaurant business model for years to come.