Is a New Orleans Masterpiece Coming to Central Park?

Commander's Palace owners mulling taking over Tavern on the Green

NEW ORLEANS — Commander's Palace, the elegant Big Easy restaurant that has been delighting diners and winning awards for years, may be adding a Big Apple address to its resume.

Ti Adelaide Martin, who owns the 127-year-old Commander's with Lally Brennan, said adding New York City's Tavern on the Green as one of their properties is a very exciting prospect.

"I actually think it's a good fit for Commander's and what we do," Martin said Friday. "Some people operate teeny, tiny fine dining restaurants. We operate very large fine dining restaurants."

Martin was among more than 60 potential bidders who attended an information session Thursday with New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation. She said she is seriously considering making a proposal for the New York City landmark.

Tavern on the Green's 25-year license expires Dec. 31, and in February, the department put out a formal request for bidders. May 1 is the deadline for proposals and $50,000 bid deposits; the department said it hoped to choose the winner by July 1.

Others reportedly attending the session included the Trump Organization, the Central Park Boathouse, Capitale restaurant, Sean Driscoll of Glorious Food and Alan Stillman of Smith & Wollensky restaurants.

Commander's has won many of the top awards in the business, including the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Outstanding Restaurant Award, Nation's Restaurant News Magazine's Lifetime Fine Dining Hall of Fame and the Zagat Survey award as New Orleans' Most Popular Restaurant from 1998 until 2004.

Hurricane Katrina broke the string when it shut down New Orleans in 2005. But the turquoise-and-white Garden District restaurant, opened in 1880 by Emile Commander, claimed the Zagat award again in 2009.

The company currently owns five restaurants, including one in Florida and two that will be opening or reopening in Houston later this year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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