Today’s Food Newsbits: Tavern On The Green Saga Drags On; Panera Bread Opens Non-Profit Location

May 24, 2010 | By

Kitchen workerSadly, the saga of New York’s historic Tavern on the Green continues. According to Crain’s New York, restaurateur Dean Poll, who won license of the landmark restaurant in Central Park in 2009 when the LeRoy family lost their hold on facilitation of the location, failed to reach an agreement with the city and restaurant worker’s union in order to move forward with the re-opening of the famed eatery. Despite the city’s initial praise of Poll’s plans to renovate the location, talks over classification of workers as well as a formal arbitration process, recently fell apart nearly a year of discussion. At the heart of the conflict, debates over server shifts and responsibilities, workers’ pensions, and arbitration selection.

“Our preference was to make an agreement that represents fairness and equity on both sides,” said HTC President Peter Ward. “However, we just simply were not able to get to a place that we thought represented anything near a fair agreement.”

With the future of the location up in the air, the space will continue to be used as a visitor’s center and snack shop while the city entertains additional proposals for the space.

I’ve been following the battle over the Tavern for the last year. You can read more about it here and here.

In a new take on community kitchens, Panera Bread Co., which operates nearly 1400 locations across the country, has opened its first nonprofit location in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. The new restaurant model, offering the standard Panera menu – only without pricing – features an opportunity for customers to pay what they can for menu items. Branded the St. Louis Bread Co. Cares, the location will be the first of its kind for the company, which has plans to add additional locations. According to MSNBC.com, Panera will utilize its nonprofit foundation to cover operating expenses and food cost.

Apparently it’s not the first restaurant to try the non-profit business model.

~Jennifer Heigl

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