Archive for January 7th, 2010

Rainbow Room Closes; New Operator Has Not been Chosen – New York

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Rainbow Room, NYC (image credit: Room in the 1940’s, although today catering mainly to tourists

The Rainbow Room (currently closed)
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

The Rainbow Room has symbolized glamor since it opened in 1934, during the Great Depression and has a marvellous view of the city. It is currently closed and a new operator has not been chosen yet.
Cipriani, the last operator, with other catering and restaurant operations across Manhattan and in Europe, complained: “Unfortunately, we are dealing with an uncompassionate and greedy landlord who has not made any efforts to resolve our differences in a reasonable manner”.  Tishman Speyer, the landlord, said it had no intention of gutting the Rainbow Room to make way for corporate offices, a move that would be certain to evoke outrage from New Yorkers. “The Rainbow Room is one of our city’s great institutions, and we will immediately begin the process of finding another great restaurateur to operate the space in the first-class manner that New Yorkers and visitors deserve,” said Tishman spokesman Robert Lawson.
According to Tishman, Cipriani, which in theory holds a lease that does not expire until 2013, was four months behind on its $500,000-a-month rent for the space, which includes the bar, the grill restaurant and a business club.
There are several Cipriani restaurants around New York including, Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue, Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central, Downtown Cipriani in Soho, Cipriani 42nd Street, and the now closed Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Plaza all of them have a thread that ties them with the original Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Tishman Speyer, co-owners of Rockefeller Center, stated that they are looking for a quality restaurateur to operate the Rainbow Room.

However, I think it would be fair to say, that it would probably be difficult to interest anyone to do this now, with a cited annual rental of $6 million and other additional high operating costs. K.M.

Tavern on the Green Shuts After New Year’s Eve 2009 – New York

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Tavern on the Green, Central Park, New York CityI have used an image of the entrance way, which has changed little through the years, as opposed to a shot of the interior as designed by LeRoy

Tavern on the Green is Closed
Warner LeRoy: First an Impresario; Second a Restaurateur

Tavern on the Green had a long history in New York City’s Central Park before its last owner, Warner LeRoy took over in 1973.  After three years of renovations with enormous cost overruns, the restaurant reopened with a hodgepodge of molded plaster ceilings and crystal chandeliers, statues and murals, it became one of the top-grossing restaurants in the country, mainly accommodating tourists, despite its mediocre food.

Warner LeRoy  (March 3, 1935 – February 22, 2001), was the son of film producer-director Mervyn LeRoy and his second wife Doris Warner, and was the grandson of Harry Warner, one of the founders of Warner Bros. and a major player in the development of the film business. He had one child, Bridget, with his first wife, Gen LeRoy Walton, and three children with his second wife Kay O’Reilly: Carolyn, Max, and Jennifer. Jennifer became the CEO of LeRoy Adventures at age 22 upon LeRoy’s death. Warner’s son Max was killed in a motorcycle accident in November 2005 at the age of 30.

Maxwell’s Plum opened in April, 1966, it was know for its outlandish Art Nouveau decor, kaleidoscopic stained-glass ceilings and walls and Tiffany lamps. The sprawling bar became a favorite prowling spot for the 1960’s singles set and the design became the model for many other chains that followed who copied it including T.G.I. Friday’s.

The Russian Tearoom closed for renovation in 1996 when the Tea Room’s longtime owner, Faith Stewart-Gordon, sold the restaurant to Mr. LeRoy in 1995. After its opening it garnered mostly negative reviews for the food although, as usual for his operations, it gained attention as a spectacle.