Tavern on the Green’s New Owners Speak Out on Nepotism Charges

Big business in the Central Park.
Big business in the Central Park. Photo: Chris Hondros

The restaurateurs from Philadelphia’s Beau Monde who have been readying Tavern on the Green for its big comeback in the fall of 2013 say they have been unprepared for the controversy which has accompanied their winning bid of the twenty-year lease on the historic restaurant. Jim Caiola and David Salama were selected to run Tavern on the Green last August, beating out restaurateurs and prominent chefs including Drew Nieporent, Mario Batali, and Bill Telepan. Salama tells Crain’s he realizes the choice may seem like nepotism because his partner’s sister is married to former deputy mayor (and current Bloomberg LP executive) Kevin Sheekey, but in reality, they keep mum during the entire RFP process. “It was obvious [talking to Mr. Sheekey about the Tavern on the Green request for proposals] would be a conflict of interest,” he says, so they never brought it up all. When it opens next year, the rebooted Tavern on the Green will have 600 seats total. Revenue is expected to reach $17.5 million by the end of 2014. [Crain’s, Earlier, Related]