Greensquare Tavern Offers Farm-to-Table Selection in Heart of Flatiron District
Few New York City restaurants take their devotion to locally sourced ingredients as seriously as the Greensquare Tavern. For Managing Partner Leon Bell and Chef Proprietor John Marsh, cooking with locally-sourced ingredients is not simply a matter of capitalizing on the latest trends; it is a personal goal.
“Our dedication to local, organic produce stems from our personal beliefs and lifestyles,” Leon explains. “It’s all about what you want to put in your body. Eating animals that were treated humanely, raised properly, fed proper diets and not pumped full of antibiotics is a major priority for us personally, and so also for our customers.”
Like so many great partnerships, Leon’s and John’s began at a Who concert. They weren’t big fans of the band, but their wives brought them along anyway, and the two foodies quickly bonded over their passion for the restaurant business and the high standards customers had a right to expect in terms of quality ingredients and carefully prepared dishes. At the time, both men were otherwise employed, but they soon decided to forgo their current occupations to start a new restaurant.
The result of this collaboration was the Green Door Café, located in Tenafly, New Jersey. There, Leon and John honed their menu, consisting of continental dishes selected on a seasonal basis, and built up a network of suppliers that met their high standards for organic ingredients. Unfortunately, the popular Green Door Café suffered smoke damage from a fire in a neighboring restaurant. Its owners needed a new location.
That’s what brought them to New York City’s Flatiron District. “We knew the Flatiron District was a popular, up-and-coming neighborhood,” Leon recalls. “It really had all the benefits a new restaurant could ask for.” Thus, in collaboration with Managing Partner Renee Typaldos, the Greensquare Tavern was born. In operation for almost three years, it is similar to its predecessor in most respects except for the fact that it boasts a fully-stocked bar. The establishment appeals primarily to locals, with many regulars returning several times a week to enjoy brunch, lunch and dinner at affordable prices.
In addition, the Greensquare Tavern provides catering for a diverse range of local Flatiron businesses, from tech companies, to consulting firms, to modeling agencies. The New York City Seminar and Conference Center, located at 23rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, has only good things to say about working with Greensquare. “As someone who runs a corporate conference center, what I look for above all in a caterer is consistency and reliability,” says NYCSCC’s Vice President and Director of Operations, Tod Shapiro. “Greensquare’s premium offerings are outstanding, but more remarkable is that they make even a standard selection of turkey and roast beef sandwiches taste like gourmet food. Our clients are consistently impressed.”
However, any genuine foodie will attest that one cannot truly get a feel for a restaurant unless they eat there. Located in the heart of the Flatiron District at 5 West 21st Street, just off Fifth Avenue, the Greensquare Tavern is a family-run establishment that, in a mere two years, has become a local favorite. This is in part due to an atmosphere that Leon describes as “friendly, homey, comfortable, and local.” Furthermore, in line with the creative spirit of the Chelsea/Flatiron District, diners are invited to feast their eyes on paintings tastefully arranged throughout the restaurant, all by local artists.
It goes without saying that a restaurant is ultimately judged by the quality of its menu. Fortunately, Chef Proprietor John Marsh is on hand to turn quality ingredients procured from upstate New York, Pennsylvania and other locations throughout the northeast into dishes that are bound to please even the most selective of foodies. In part, this is because the veteran chef is a foodie himself. For one, he shares Leon’s dedication to working with only the best vegetables and produce.
“As a chef, I believe in the freshest, most locally sourced, sustainably raised ingredients I can find, handled as little as possible,” says John. “I like the ingredients to speak for themselves. We do our best to, in the words of a famous chef, Charlie Palmer: “work with the best ingredients we can find and get out of the way.”
While the quality of the ingredients is apparent in every bite, the seasoned chef is being a bit modest. John strives to compile unique, varied menus. Often, this is a team effort. Far from a stereotypical kitchen dictator, John welcomes input from other staff members, all of whom share a passion for cooking. “You must always allow people the freedom of input,” says Marsh. If you don’t seek input from everyone who works for you, they can very quickly lose interest and feel as if their creative juices are thwarted. Our last three menus have been a complete collaboration among all our kitchen staff,” the chef points out with pride.
Given the Greensquare Tavern’s farm-to-table approach, offerings vary according to season, guaranteeing that what you eat was prepared with the freshest possible ingredients. Walk through the doors in summer, spring, winter or fall, and you will find a menu arranged accordingly, with season-specific selections standing alongside perennial favorites.
If a diner were to visit Greensquare Tavern now, they would be treated to a variety of dishes featuring a bounty that only spring can offer. For instance, they could order a spinach salad topped with bright red beets, sweet apricots, olives and feta, all tossed in a tangy apple vinaigrette. For meat lovers, Greensquare also features a crispy pork belly coated in a spring onion and sherry shallot glaze. The summer will yield a different, but no doubt equally delectable, variety of seasonal delights.
A combination of quality ingredients, versatility, and artful simplicity make Greensquare Tavern one of the finest restaurants in the neighborhood. Anyone with an interest in tasting delicious food without the need to worry about what they’re putting in their body would be remiss not to try it out for themselves.