Food for Thought: Tavern on the Green’s Bankruptcy and You Skip to main content

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Food for Thought: Tavern on the Green’s Bankruptcy and You


Nicholas Cage isn’t the only movie star filing for bankruptcy. The owners of Tavern on the Green, arguably America’s most famous restaurant, and an esteemed eatery featured in films from Edward Scissorhands, and Ghostbusters to The Out-of-Towners and Wall Street, has recently sought the protection of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York.

As Reuters reported in September, "To thousands of visitors, Tavern on the Green is New York," a 2005 New York Times restaurant review stated. It was also considered one of the most romantic spots in town to become engaged, have a wedding reception or spend an anniversary.

The 75 year-old New York eatery institution filed Chapter 11 after its lease was terminated by the City of New York, who has granted a new 20-year lease at the same location to another restaurant, the owners of Central Park Boathouse. Tavern on the Green continues to operate while in Chapter 11, but may auction off the restaurant’s name, which it claims has a value of $19,000,000.

So, why should you care about the fate of a wealthy restaurant?

In this sign of the economic times, when even the most rich and famous are feeling the effects of the declining financial futures, it is important to remember that if you’re feeling a financial squeeze you’re not alone. And watching the processes businesses like Tavern on the Green must go through when filing bankruptcy could provide valuable lessons of how the bankruptcy process might work for you.

Like a business, bankruptcy isn’t the end of you, in fact it’s business as usual. While Tavern on the Green may auction its name as it attempts to pay its creditors in full, it continues to operate. Similarly, your bankruptcy proceedings can force creditors to end their collection activities and get you back on your financial feet, operating again as a whole person.

Bankruptcy protection provides temporary relief and "buys time" to reorganize . Chapter 11 allowed Tavern on the Green to not only operate, but leverage their significant brand to make more money. In the same way, bankruptcy buys individuals like you precious time to stockpile savings and reorganize for your next financial moves—unfettered by the actions of creditors.

Bankruptcy promises a fresh financial start as debts are "discharged." As mentioned, when bankruptcy happens, the debtor is released from personal liability for that debt and is no longer legally required to repay it. While Tavern on the Green may change hands, its lucrative name lives on. And just as Tavern on the Green’s name will live on beyond bankruptcy, your filing allows you to get back your “good name,” providing a much-needed stopping point

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