It's Time To Step Inside Park At St. Bart's

September 24, 2008

90-Year-Old Landmark, New Restaurant, Executive Chef Matthew Weingarten

It's Time To Step Inside Park At St. Bart's

NEW YORK, NY, September 10, 2008 – Located in the transformed Great Hall of the Community House at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Inside Park at St. Bart’s (109 East 50th Street at Park Avenue, 212-593-3333, www.insideparknyc.com), will open its fine dining historic doors on September 23, 2008. It’s a gathering place that invites guests to come inside to enjoy themselves and share dining experiences in a very special, unique New York City setting.

New Fine Dining – Stunning, Majestic Venue
Eight steps up from the sidewalk on Park Avenue, across the famous Terrace at St. Bartholomew’s Church, through the doors into what was the Great Hall of the church’s Community House, and now you’re inside a brand new space that seats 140 diners, including a raised semi-private gallery dining area. Inside Park’s design pays a deep respect to the look and details of the Great Hall that it has replaced. The space was re-created to pay tribute to times past and attend to the comforts and pleasures of contemporary diners.

Long-Time NYC Advocate of a Sense of Time and Place
Executive Chef Matthew Weingarten, the former chef de cuisine at Savoy in New York, will showcase his ever-changing contemporary American menus at this distinctive one-of-a-kind location. A well-seasoned proponent of local ingredients, sustainable practices and lost culinary arts, Weingarten is a true believer in food and restaurants reflecting a sense of time and place.

Inside Park at St. Bart’s is also the place where Weingarten will continue to responsibly source from the farmers and purveyors whom he has known and worked with for years – producers of meats, fish and produce who care about the community-at-large. It’s the place where he looks forward to mentoring his culinary team in a new 2,400-square-foot kitchen that he helped design – a kitchen created to comfortably provide functional spaces to cure, pickle, preserve, smoke and prepare everything served in the dining room.

“I’ve developed our Fall Dinner Menu to offer guests choices of not only what they are in the mood to eat, but how they would like to eat on any particular day,” says Weingarten. The menu offers Simple Plates such as Sizzled Rouget; Chiogga Beets with Poppy Cream; or Sage and Hooligan Taxis that are meant to be shared. Entree selections include: Hand-Cut Pappardelle with Mountain-Style Rabbit Ragu; Herbed-Steamed Wahoo with Pink Peppercorn and Porcini Broth; and Grass-Fed Ribeye with Scarlet Runners and Delicata Squash Fries. The Featured Dish For Two on the opening menu is: Limousin Veal Roast with Porcini Preserves and Potato Purée. Appetizers, including East Coast Oyster Pan Roast with Black Pepper Popover or Braised Lamb Breast with Black Walnut Chutney and Bronze Fennel, and Vegetable Sides such as Corn, Leek and Goat Cheese Fondue are other options for the table to share. Chef Weingarten is happiest when guests “are breaking bread together”.

A bake shop annex was built to accommodate the talents of Pastry Chef Miran Shim who will be making a varied assortment of classic pastries and tarts that celebrate the season such as Hand-Stretched Strudel with Heirloom Apples, Walnuts and Cultured Cream.

Gracious Hospitality and Great Beverages
The service team’s goal is to ensure a total fine dining experience for locals, business associates, destination diners and visitors from all over the world, with staff training concentrating on the fine art of hospitality. Some tableside service will be offered – Chef Weingarten’s idea of the perfect way to “spoil” diners and create a welcoming feeling.

A global “One Hundred Wines” List, updated classic cocktails and an extensive beverage program, including choices of Artisan Beers, D.O. Jerez-Xeres-Sherries, Ports, Cognacs and Dessert Wines, have been carefully selected. There is a cozy 12-seat bar area for those who would like to enjoy a pre- or post-dining quaff in the front of the house.

The hospitality team also welcomes the opportunity to work with guests who would like to host business and special occasion events at Inside Park, on Inside Park Terrace and in other special event spaces within St. Bartholomew’s.

Design – The Melding of Past and Present
Intricate Byzantine-like decorative stenciling true to the immense room’s original colors, motifs and craftsmanship have been painstakingly replicated on the soaring 30-foot ceiling, as well as on the walls, overhanging balcony and border around the raised dining gallery that is lit by original Great Hall hanging fixtures. The artisanal detailing was hand-fabricated by master Old World craftsman, Charles Wilkinson of Antico Effetto. Simple, but elegant 15-foot-high yellow and white stained glass windows remain as beautiful elements of the 86-year-old room.

The original wood floor, also dating from 1922, has been renovated and stained a rich, dark brown with the addition of new honey-hued pendant cylinder shade lighting and a combination of new and restored furniture, including a gothic refectory table from the church that now serves as a showcase for the restaurant’s desserts. A focal point at the rear of the raised dining gallery is a 20-foot screen projecting old and modern photographs of New York City park scenes.

Conant Architects oversaw the design and numerous challenges of building Inside Park at St. Bart’s dining room within this celebrated landmark. Sustainable refinishing practices were used when possible, including the use of non-formaldehyde wood products to working with low volatile organic paints as well as a non-toxic floor finish and a bamboo finish on the bar.

Pascoe-Jacobs Associates supervised the construction of the restaurant’s new 2,400-square-foot kitchen, built under the Terrace level. Chef Matthew Weingarten’s new center of activity was built to his specifications, which called for immaculate white tiling; a customized butcher table; all stainless surfaces; a meat walk-in with a 2,000-pound load rail; and a large Cookshop smoker. 
 
Inside Park Terrace at St. Bart’s
Festooned with outdoor umbrellas and palm trees blowing in the breeze, this outside piazza-like escape in the middle of Manhattan is open from mid-April through the Fall season. It features casual lunch, dinner and bar menus as well as brunch on Sundays. Seating up to 200 people, the Inside Park Terrace is a lively, friendly spot to sip a glass of wine and share a bite to eat at its bar at the end of a busy day.

Inside Park at St. Bart’s and Inside Park Terrace are proudly managed by Sodexo, Inc. For more information about Inside Park at St. Bart’s, please visit us online at www.insideparknyc.com.

Inside Park at St. Bart’s, 109 East 50th Street on Park Avenue, Tel: 212-593-3333.
Hours: 
Dinner - Monday to Saturday, 5:30 to 10:00 pm
Lunch  - Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 3:00 pm (Begins October 13)
Brunch - Sunday, Noon to 4:00 pm
Bar - Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, 5:00 to 10:00 pm;  Saturday, 5:00 to 10:00 pm; Sunday, Noon to 4:00 pm 

Sodexo, Inc.
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com) is a leading integrated food and facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with $7.3 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo, Inc. serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government and remote sites. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds the Sodexo Foundation (www.helpstophunger.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $9.2 million in grants to fight hunger in America.

About St. Bartholomew’s Church
St. Bartholomew’s is a lively faith community, upholding its rich Episcopal/Anglican heritage and welcoming all seekers and visitors 365 days a year. It offers worship services daily, with some of New York’s finest music Sundays and festival days. It also offers educational programs, community service, its Great Music and Summer Festival series, and its interfaith Center for Religious Inquiry. Its iconic dome tops its Romanesque structure, one of New York’s most widely recognized and beloved landmarks. Visit www.stbarts.org or call 212.378.0222.

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