Danny Meyer’s Central Park Cafe Public Fare
Central Park food, for most of our lives, meant: 1. Hot dog; 2. Picnic; 3. We were invited to a wedding at the Boathouse. Sure, the occasional ho-hum cafe has opened, and the Good Humor guys sometimes stock Choco Tacos (if you've never tried one, please do), but really, if you were looking for a cafe in Central Park–Manhattan's backyard–there wasn't really much worth eating.
Until, of course, a Danny Meyer restaurant came along. Public Fare is Danny Meyer's "upscale concession stand" built into the exterior of the Delacorte Theater–home to, among other things, the Public Theater's annual Shakespeare in the Park productions–and, as he did with The Shake Shack, Meyer totally nails it. Public Fare has excellent food, at a reasonable price, sourced and prepared and served with attention and love.
This Central Park Cafe has all the trademarks of a Danny Meyer restaurant
Danny Meyer understands that the secret to a great sandwich is quality ingredients, balanced with care. Take Public Fare's outstanding Yellowfin Tuna Salad, with its just-right creaminess, the chunks of rich fish complemented by the acid of olives and lemon, the bite of fresh arugula, and all on a Sullivan Street panino, a sturdy, tasty, not-too-chewy roll that's up to the task of holding it all together. Or the BLT, featuring Benton's hickory smoked bacon, crisp Bibb lettuce, a slather of black-pepper mayonnaise to counteract the sweetness, served on Tom Cat sourdough. There are also soups and salads and veggies, which we haven't yet tried, but definitely will soon. Another Danny Meyer restaurant success.
And no Central Park cafe would be complete without something sweet. In Danny Meyer's Sweets and Snacks departments… well, you really couldn't ask for more than the surfeit of top-notch sugar- and salt-based treats offered here. The Marshmallow Toffee cookie, big enough for two, is just the right combination of gooey and crunchy. The frozen desserts are from il laboratorio del gelato. The Whoopie Pie is spectacular. The Toasted Corn Nuts satisfy, deeply. There's even Illy coffee, wine and beer. And if you're lucky–or determined–enough to score tickets to this summer's raved-about production of Twelfth Night, Public Fare food is allowed inside the theater. Not that you need a seat at Shakespeare in the Park to enjoy this Central park cafe. Public Fare is a great gift to the city: delicious, affordable, fresh food, available right out there on our lawn.
Public Fare Details
Public Fare is located within Central Park, just south of the Great Lawn, at around 81st Street. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. through the summer, and until 9:30, or the end of intermission, during Shakespeare in the Park performances.