Let’s Dish: Tavern on the Green in Central Park

Chef Bill Peet works 7 days a week, but there isn’t a complain that comes out of his mouth. With a smile on his face, he says sincerely,

I love what I do. Every day is something different and I have a great time every single day.

Tavern on the Green is located in the midst of one of New York City’s most well-known attractions, the breathtaking Central Park. The new Tavern on the Green replaces the previous which was in business from 1934-2009. Tavern on the Green was reopened in 2013 with much anticipation. Chef Peet takes us through some of the changes, renovations, and staff that they’ve seen since 2013, and now, in 2017, he guarantees that they’re ready to impress not only tourists but New Yorker’s alike.

I want New Yorker’s to come in here and give us a chance. I want them to forget about any negative reviews they may have read about when we reopened in 2013.

From the moment we walk in and are greeted with kindness, we know the experience of this one-of-a-kind restaurant will live up to our expectations. With the New York rain pouring down hard, we are unable to sit on the gorgeous patio, but after you enter the dining room, you forget about the rain and start to take it all in. Tavern on the Green is stunning. From the lighting to the decor, there is a sense of wonder and thrill that you feel, creating the perfect atmosphere for a dining experience so special.

Many people tend to take dining out for granted, but Tavern on the Green puts that on the backburner, it’s truly an experience. We admit that we feel honored just to be in this place. Sal and I are on the first leg of our honeymoon when we come, and we couldn’t have asked for a better place to dine. The quality of staff and menu exceeds expectations and meeting Chef Peet was the icing on the cake.

For me, it’s a bucket list restaurant. I have a lot of friends from Europe and they tell me they know about Tavern on the Green. I heard it so many times when I started here — people would come up to me and tell me they’ve been waiting to come here for 30 years.

When the Chef is passionate, you know the food is going to be amazing. This was definitely the case at Tavern on the Green. Chef Peet explains his dedication to the staff, the clientele, and the menu itself.

To me, it’s a responsibility to do what I do. We have to be on every single night. It’s not just a job. I’m here early in the morning and I leave late at night 7 days a week. It’s just such a New York restaurant.

There’s a lot of chef’s, who when they attain the status of ‘chef’, they come in late, they leave early, and they’re pretty much hands off. I’m not and I have never been. I’m here at 6 in the morning and I leave at 8,9,10 at night. If it looks like we don’t have any events coming up, I’ll take a day off, but for the most part, I’m here 7 days a week.

As we sit down and order a bottle of wine, the immensity of the restaurant starts to sink in. We can’t believe the experiences that we, and other diners, are enduring. There’s a wedding, groups of friends and families, and couples. Everyone is relaxed, happy and enjoying the company of each other. In the hustle-and-bustle of New York City, that’s saying a lot. I’ve always believed that dining out was a privilege that you should appreciate and not rush out of, and that’s exactly the demeanor everyone at Tavern on the Green gifts to visitors.

Tavern on the Green is not a small restaurant, it’s actually about the size of four restaurants.

No wonder Chef Peet stays busy 7 days a week!

The special of the night is a steak for two, which couldn’t be more perfect, both taste-wise and for the occasion. The steak is brought out cooked whole to show right before being brought back for the Chef to cut. It’s paired with impeccably cooked asparagus and mac-and-cheese.
(Full disclosure: We had steak leftovers and I woke up in the middle of the night dreaming about them…I then ate steak at 3am. No regrets.)

Chef Peet brings out one of his favorite dishes, so simple and elegant yet tasteful like nothing I’ve ever had before.

The chopped vegetable salad. Over there years I’ve had guests send back their salads so that we could chop it up into small bite-sized pieces, so they could speak to each other and just shovel it in basically. My kitchen started to be very messy with all the chopped vegetables and chopped lettuce everywhere, so I started taking different vegetables – either raw, baked, roasted, grilled- and just started chopping them into small pieces.


Out of all the restaurants I’ve covered, visited and written about, Tavern on the Green wins the award for my all time favorite. I can’t reccomend it enough!

When you go, make sure you ask to say hi to Chef Peet…he is one of the nicest in the business!

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