Despite a rocky first year in the kitchen, the newly reopened Tavern on the Green is still raking in loads of money, according to co-owner Jim Caiola and to recent data that the Post pulled from the Parks Department. The city's numbers show that the sprawling, historic Central Park restaurant made $15.4 million in revenue in its first 10 months in business, and now that it's reached the one year mark, Caiola says it's made even more than the $17.5 million in revenue that he and partner David Salama projected it would.
That's not to say it'll be smooth sailing from here on out. Though the restaurant has weathered losing not one but two chefs since it opened, it has other sorts of business challenges ahead. For one thing, it's in the middle of a two-year reprieve from having to pay its employees union wages (a requirement since the property is owned by the parks department). But once that ends, expenses will go up. Also, it's not paying rent right now, because the city agreed to let it defer those payments for the first five years. And Caiola admits that, business-wise, the first three months of 2015 (i.e., the last three months) were "way worse than we thought they would be."
According to the Post, the restaurant isn't doing a lot of events right now, but those will have to become a big chunk of its business – ideally a third, says Caiola. And it's now a lot harder to host events than it was for the old Tavern on the Green, because now every one of them requires the Parks Department to sign off in advance. Still, John Stevenson, the chef hired to replace Jeremiah Tower after he suddenly announced his departure last week, has a lot of catering and event experience, so it's clearly something the restaurant is focusing on.
By the way, for what it's worth, Caiola says the break with Tower was mutual, and that "we never thought" it would be a long-term position.