“None of us is irreplaceable,” said retiring senator Chris Dodd. The sentiment not only applies to beleaguered incumbent senators who enjoy smashing portraits on the ground at fine restaurants, but also to the fine restaurants themselves. For as the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, New York’s legendary Tavern on the Green has shut its doors and is auctioning off pretty much the whole restaurant, from soup to nuts. “Everything must go,” write Suzanne Sataline and Dionne Searcey, “Baccarat chandeliers, Tiffany lampshades, topiary shaped like King Kong, a bronze jockey and horse statue from the entrance, the lobby's brass lettering that says ‘THE BAR,’ the bar itself, four sets of six mother-of-pearl caviar spoons and the doorman's frock coat, among other things.” You read that correctly: “topiary shaped like King Kong.”
I’d been to the tavern on a few occasions and always figured customers didn’t pay so much for the food as they did for the location in Central Park (according to the article, on what was once a sheep shed). And over the years the tavern had become the site of numerous joyous gatherings like weddings and graduation parties—a special treat on rare occasions. Sentiment is certainly the driving force for one woman who tells the Journal she intends to purchase wooden gargoyles that used to scare her when she was a child. (Guernsey’s estimates a few items like onion-soup ramekins could fetch $4,000.) So even if it’s not quite the closing of Pavillon, it’s still a sad affair.
Tavern on the Green had run out of money. It’s debt became unmanageable. The economic downturn obviously didn’t help. But even in prosperous times, restaurants have closed their doors. Even the good ones.
Except maybe the Cheesecake Factory. That will probably live on forever.-