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The Daily Plant : Monday, September 20, 2010

Parks Announces New Food Concessions at Tavern on the Green

Last week, the Parks Department announced that beginning on October 15, multiple vendors will offer their spreads for hungry park-goers at Central Park’s iconic Tavern on the Green. For anyone who has ever craved something other than a classic New York frank or a soft pretzel while strolling across the Sheep Meadow, the addition is welcome news. The Tavern will feature offerings from Ladle of Love, Pera Mediterranean Brasserie, Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, all on the outdoor terrace.

“New York City is not only the city that never sleeps, it is the city that always eats - everywhere,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “We are thrilled that high quality food will continue to be made available to the public at Tavern on the Green. Ladle of Love, Pera, the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck and the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck will undoubtedly delight park patrons in one of the city’s most bucolic settings.”

The four vendors will occupy a space that has long stood as an enchanting fixture in New York City lore. The original building was constructed in 1935, after Parks Commissioner Robert Moses opted to tear down the nearby Casino. He felt quite strongly that its exclusivity did not align with the implicit values of a public park.

Moses said at the time that he wanted to create a venue for affordable dining that everyone in the city could enjoy. The site for Tavern, which sits at about 66th Street on the West Side Drive, was then home to a sheepfold for the animals that once roamed the Sheep Meadow. The Parks Department converted the structure into the building that stands there today. It has been home to many different restaurants through the years, and seen its share of impressive topiaries at the front entrance.

On Thursday, the Parks Department’s announcement added to the long history of Tavern on the Green. Menu items for Ladle of Love, Pera, the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice cream will likely run at about $4-$10 when they open for business on October 15.

Ladle of Love started as a tiny shop in Westchester, and is now an award-winning food shop alongside its sister bistro, Café of Love. At Tavern on the Green, Ladle of Love will serve a variety of seasonal homemade soups and stews with offerings like harvest celebration and beef bourguignon, fresh salads , sandwiches such as the Thanksgiving and a BBQ pulled pork, their much beloved fried truffled chickpeas and Ladle of Love stuffed brownies.

Pera is an offshoot of Pera Mediterranean Brasserie, an award winning Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in Midtown named “Among Top 5 Newcomers for 2008” by Zagat Survey. This is expected to be the first Turkish Taco Truck in the country. The Tavern on the Green menu will consist of Turkish tacos with a wide variety of fillings including a housemade lamb bacon BLT, Greek salad, and tuna nicoise. Side dishes range from yogurt, to crispy chick peas to lentil and feta salad, with baklava and rice pudding on offer for dessert.

The Rickshaw Dumpling Truck is well known and loved throughout New York City. It was a Vendy’s Street Food Award Finalist in 2009, and was ranked among the 25 Best Food Trucks 2010 (NY Magazine), and World’s Best Street Food 2010 (Travel + Leisure). Their Tavern on the Green menu will consist of dumplings, with standard flavors like pork and Chinese chive, chicken and thai basil, and vegetarian edamame, and special flavors that will be offered periodically, served with dipping sauces and sides like chili sesame noodle salad and miso soup.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck has been featured in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and Bon Appetit. Their Tavern on the Green menu will include ice cream featuring flavors such as pistachio, currants and cream, espresso in addition to classics, an extensive coffee menu and rotating pastries (e.g. crème brulee with kettled ginger, apple galettes, cocoa butter cakes). Top-notch quality is the hallmark of Van Leeuwen, and each flavor is composed of only the freshest and most painstakingly sourced ingredients.


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(1928 - )

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