Tavern on the Green Prepares for Auction as the Custody Battle for Its Name Continues


Tavern on the Green is preparing to hold the restaurant auction to end all restaurant auctions on Jan. 13-15, and Nation’s Restaurant News has helpfully provided a slide show of some of the goods that will be up for sale. From the looks of it, Tavern’s material possessions would put Graceland to shame.

The auction will feature 700 lots selling items as varied as Italian tableclothes, Villeroy & Bosch plates, silver buffet dishes, velvet-backed chairs, Baccarat crystal chandeliers, and bottles upon bottles of wine. So if you’ve ever wanted your home to resemble a restaurant designed in a joint effort between Liberace and Bob Guccione, this may be your chance. The auction will be held Jan. 13-15; the first two days will be open to the public, and the last will be for members of the restaurant industry.

Meanwhile, Diner’s Journal has a lengthy story about the continuing custody battle between the city and the LeRoy family for Tavern’s name. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum is presiding over the complex case, which she has deemed “very interesting.” Lawyers for both sides have invoked the lengthy history of the restaurant, which began its life in 1872 as a sheepfold for flocks that grazed on the nearby meadow.

The judge has so far given little indication of who she’ll side with: she told the city that “[w]e have an incontestable trademark that you want to overcome as a matter of law…Selecting a name doesn’t give you a trademark.” And to the lawyer for the LeRoy family, she said that the late Warner LeRoy “was given the name,” and that “the city had always owned a building in Central Park that was called Tavern on the Green.”

The case is not expected to be decided before the end of the year; it’s possible that Tavern will have auctioned off its last topiary animal before a decision is reached.


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