Tavern Restaurant



“The Tavern” Restaurant in the Historic District of Old Salem

Date: January 2, 2020


This Request for Proposal, “RFP” was developed to perform a request for proposal for “The Tavern” restaurant in the  Old Salem Museums & Gardens Historic District. The purpose of this document is to define the process for evaluation and request information that will assist us in reviewing and/or selecting compatible candidates.

Old Salem Museums and Gardens has several public venues that are organizationally owned and operated, while others are leased out in ways that enhance our visitor’s & resident’s food experience.  1. Winkler Bakery, 2.  Back Door Coffeehouse, 3. The Tavern Restaurant – full  plated food service with bar, 4. The Muddy Creek Café sandwich shop, 5. Brasstown Chocolates on Winkler Bakery Second – boutique food vendors (Room #1 under lease), 6. Winkler Bakery Second Floor unique spaces for boutique food vendors (Room #2 available), We are also offering a limited number of mobile, mission-centric food vendor possibilities throughout the historic district.  These mobile vendors would be tied to events and special programs (available).

Although not a part of this RFP, if anyone is interested in the possibility listed above of, please contact Old Salem Museums and Gardens so that we may add  you to the waiting list of potential vendors.


Old Salem Tavern –  This space is the subject of this RFP.   Built in 1816 as an annex to the 1784 Tavern in Salem, NC, this restaurant has featured dishes inspired by the Moravian families living in Salem in the 19th century but the new menu would be left up to the new tenant.  It has served locally farmed food, craft and draft beers, wine and mixed drinks in an upscale casual environment.  Waitstaff have worn historic Moravian attire during the day.  Dine by candlelight in small intimate dining rooms for a romantic and memorable evening.  Old Salem Museums & Gardens owns the building and leases the restaurant operation.

The restaurant will close December 31st.  OSMG also has plans to make improvements to the building to among other things, make it more accessible for those with disabilities. OSMG is seeking a partner to work with on the details of the renovation and upfit.   OSMG owns selected  furniture, fixtures and equipment that will be available for use by the next tenant.

Old Salem Museums & Gardens ideally seeks a restaurant that would:

  • Be a collaborator with Old Salem Museums & Gardens as a significant partner in providing an essential visitor experience.
  • Creating foods with a fusion of history with contemporary.
  • Provide not only a food service venue, but additional activations of the building through the week and nights as an extension of our “Activate Main Street” project.
  • Consider extended evening hours to accommodate a modified family-friendly “beer garden” or Pub-like atmosphere in the arbor space behind the restaurant (arbor use under separate contract).
  • Provide a venue for special occasions.
  • Provide full alcohol bar service.
  • Provide music
  • Retain existing customer base while expanding the constituent base to include local and near-by residents and adjacent colleges.
  • Hours of operation would be left up to the tenant through the approval of Old Salem Museums & Gardens. The ideal candidate would be open daily for lunch except Monday when the museum is closed and in collaboration with OSMG during special public events.


Proposals will be reviewed by the OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS CEO, COO and senior staff. The top Candidates whose proposals meet the evaluation criteria will be invited to meet for an interview/presentation.  The meetings will be held on Feb. 21st, 2020 at OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS. Please keep a note of these dates in the chance you are a finalist.

The expected timetable for the evaluation process is outlined below:

  • Distribute RFP – First week of January 2020
  • Deadline to hold a call or to send questions – January 31, 2020
  • Receive responses – February 14, 2020
  • Conduct meetings with top Consultant(s) – February 21, 2020
  • Decision made by – March 1, 2020

Candidate(s) will be notified in writing of the results after the primary candidate(s) of choice has (have) been selected. OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS is under no obligation to disclose the reasoning behind its decisions in evaluating this response.  The successful candidate(s) will be invited to enter into a service agreement contract with OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS.


The Request for Proposal will be released on January 2, 2020. Proposals must be received at or before 5:00 p.m. on February 14, 2020. This deadline is absolute.  Please submit your response and all materials to be considered electronically to [email protected].

OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS will review all submitted materials.  All materials become the property of OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS and its agents and will not be returned.  If the candidate intends to submit confidential or proprietary information as part of the proposal, any limits on the use or distribution of that material should be clearly delineated in writing.


All questions and requests for clarification concerning this document must be addressed to Terry Taylor at [email protected] or 336-721-7316.  Please do not to contact any other representatives of OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS during this process. All communications and questions should be directed to the appropriate contact by the appropriate date to allow enough time as to not jeopardize the submission of the proposal by the mandatory due date.


OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS reserves the right to enforce the following proposal conditions:

  • This RFP may be modified or withdrawn by OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS at any time.
  • All information provided to Candidates(s) by OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS is proprietary information and is to be used solely for responding to this RFP. All proposals will be the sole property of OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS.
  • If, in OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS’s opinion, none of the proposals is acceptable, OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS may decide to reject all proposals.
  • By the issuance of this RFP, OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS is not obligated to award a contract.
  • The proposal received from the successful Candidate(s) as well as this RFP, either in whole or in part, at OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS’s option, will become part of the agreement between OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS and the candidate(s).
  • OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS reserves the right to share with board members, attorneys, affiliates and employees of OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS all responses to this RFP and any subsequent information or contractual documents.
  • OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS reserves the right to amend the contents of this RFP or due dates during the proposal solicitation, evaluation and selection process. Any changes will be communicated to you in writing.


By responding to this RFP, the Candidates(s) expressly acknowledges that OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS issue of the RFP, and other information are the sole and exclusive property of OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS and agrees that it will safeguard such information to the same extent it safeguards its own confidential material or data relating to its own business information that is of a confidential or proprietary nature.



Our Mission:

Old Salem Museums & Gardens presents an authentic view of the rich cultural history of early Southern life to diverse audiences—with special emphasis on the Moravians in North Carolina—through the preservation and interpretation of historic objects, buildings, and landscapes.

About Old Salem Museums & Gardens:

In 1950, a group of dedicated volunteers established Old Salem, Inc. as a way to begin preserving and restoring the town of Salem for future generations. As Old Salem grew, more buildings were restored, and new facilities were added—including the museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA).

In addition to having two National Historic Landmark buildings, the Salem Tavern and the Single Brother’s Hose, Old Salem was designated as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1966, and it’s boundaries were redefined in the 1970s. Old Salem has worked since the 1990s to expand the historic district in order to more comprehensively encompass the broader Moravian experience and influence. In 2016 the National Park Service approved an expansion of the NHL district, including changes to the boundaries, additional time periods of significance and more types of resources.

Old Salem attracts approximately 440,000 visitors annually, including 45,000 school children.  The museums employ about 170 full and part-time staff and have a regional economic impact of over $48 million a year and generate $3.34 million in tax revenues for the state and county. 

Adjacent to the historic district is Salem College with enrollment of 940 students and an additional 100 families that live in Salem. 

ABOUT the OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS Food Service/Restaurants:

Food service is an important component to the visitor experience at Old Salem.  Whether the guest has purchased a ticket or is just visiting the retail stores, they have an expectation of being able to purchase something to eat and drink within the historic district.  Providers must perform at a high level to maintain the Old Salem’s reputation of providing a quality, family-oriented product.

Old Salem has the following eating establishments:

The Muddy Creek Café below the T. Bagge Merchant on Main Street. –

It includes an indoor restaurant kitchen, dining room and an outdoor patio with a stage for music.  The menu is sandwiches, soups, salads and drinks.  Old Salem leases the building from Home Moravian Church, maintains the building and leases the restaurant operation.

Winkler Bakery (Second Floor)- Constructed in 1800, Swiss-born Christian Winkler came to Salem from Pennsylvania and bought the building in 1807.  Winkler descendants worked in the bakery until 1926.  Today it is one of the most beloved buildings in the district and sells breads, cookies, sugar cake and other baked goods.  Old Salem Museums & Gardens owns the building and operates the bakery.  Upstairs we have space available for lease that would be ideal for a gelato and/or ice cream operation if interested.

The WINK Coffeehouse (second floor of Winkler Bakery) – This coffeehouse provides seating for light desserts and coffee.  The venue also carries gift items and baked goods from Winkler Bakery.

Brasstown Chocolates (second floor of Winkler bakery) – A small boutique vendor, Brasstown Chocolates offers specialty handmade chocolates, and chocolate drinks.

Tavern Restaurant (subject of this RFP)


Please answer all questions below in the order presented




  1. Provide a brief overview of your company. How many employees?
  1. Explain your ownership/corporate structure: (Example – “independently owned and operated, a limited partnership, part of a publicly traded company)?
  1. Please provide a bio of your key managers/owners.
  1. List your firm’s lines of business (including affiliated companies).
  1. How many years have you been in business or in the restaurant industry?
  1. How long have you been with the company you’re representing?
  1. Provide you vision for The Tavern. What is your concept and brand?
  1. Please share a proposed menu.
  1. Please give a brief description of your business plan.
  • Executive Summary
  • Company overview and Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Management Structure
  • Marketing and Public Relations Strategies
  • Financial Projection
  • Mission Statement
  1. Have you had, or do you currently have any litigation surrounding your services and products? If yes, please describe.
  1. Would you have ABC offerings? Do you have a permit?
  1. What is your Business Continuity Plan?


Please provide a list of at least three references.  The references will be utilized by OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS to evaluate the candidate’s capability to meet this RFP’s requirements.  Please include the name, city, state, phone number and email address for each reference and permission to contact them.

References must be submitted with RFP, as they are part of the evaluation process.


All responses are due by 5:00 p.m. on February 14, 2020.

Thank you for your interest in


NOTE: All questions and requests for clarification concerning this document must be addressed to Terry Taylor at [email protected] or 336-721-7316.  Please do not to contact any other representatives of OLD SALEM MUSEUMS & GARDENS during this process. All communications and questions should be directed to the appropriate contact by the appropriate date to allow enough time as to not jeopardize the submission of the proposal by the mandatory due date.