Harlem Eat Up festival this weekend in NYC

New York News


The food scene in Harlem has always been sizzling.

Back in 1938, chicken and waffles were invented at “Wells” and places like “M & G” Diner and the legendary Sylvia’s.

Celebrity chef and restauranteur Marcus Samuelson thought it was time to officially put Harlem on the food map. He’s one of the masterminds behind “Harlem Eat Up.”

So we set out to see what a few of the participating restaurants will be serving up this weekend.

“Corner Social” at Lenox & 126th is one of the hottest places to get a nosh in Harlem. When you go there Executive Chef Banks White says he wants you to feel like you just might be in your living room.

Banks showed us a preview of a seasonal salad he’s making for “Harlem Eat Up”

“La Bodega 47″ sits at the intersection of 118th St and Malcolm X Blvd. Open just a few years people have come to expect a warm atmosphere and electic menu options.

And our last stop, “Lolos Seafood Shack” which has a Caribbean vibe and flavors. Open just 3 months, it’s getting rave reviews and has a sunny outdoor area, which is perfect for spring and summer.

You can grab a bite and take part of the fun all weekend long.

Here are some links for the festival , restaurants and recipes:

Harlem Eat Up

Corner Social


Village Voice: Late Night Secret Fried Chicken

Corner Social, 321 Lenox Avenue, Friday and Saturday, midnight

You can’t go to bed on an empty stomach, so head here for a midnight snack. Debuting this Saturday (very early) morning, guests can enjoy an off-the-menu whole fried chicken for $30. Chickens will be dispensed to the fryer on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are only twelve birds available each night.

WSJournal : Harlem’s Burgeoning Food Scene

The newly opened Streetbird Rotisserie.


Not long ago, eating out in Harlem meant the obligatory trip to Sylvia’s Restaurant onMalcolm X Boulevard for soul food. But when chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster a block away in 2011, followed by Harlem Corner Social diagonally across the street, it signaled a change in the local dining scene.


“For a long time all you had was soul food or mom-and-pop places,” said Anahi Angelone,Harlem Corner Social’s owner. “But now people are seeing there are opportunities for so much else.”

Bolstered by that confidence, Ms. Angelone will open a second restaurant, Angel, in two weeks, the latest in a string of openings below 125th Street on Frederick DouglassBoulevard. This month, Mr. Samuelsson opened Streetbird Rotisserie, following the lead of six-month-old LoLo’s Seafood Shack, the month-old bar Mess Hall, and its adjoining coffee shop, Double Dutch Espresso—all clustered around 116th to 119th Streets.

“I saw what we did with Red Rooster on Lenox and wondered what that would look like on Frederick Douglass,” said Mr. Samuelsson, noting that he sees his business as “adding amenities to the community.” To further propel Harlem’s exploding food culture, he founded the four-day Harlem EatUp! Festival, which will debut May 14, joining the Food & Drink Boulevard event, now in its fourth year.

The buzz was a long time coming, says Gareth Fagan, co-owner of Harlem Tavern, who cited only two businesses on the boulevard when he arrived in 2011. “It was only a handful—and handful is a generous term.”

But the growth spurt has been fast: At six years old, Bier International is already a senior citizen, the four-year-old Lido and Harlem Tavern are teenagers, and the two-year-old Vinateria a toddler.

“The Harlem food scene in general is really sort of buzzing at the moment, and we’re part of that,” said Yvette Leeper-Bueno, Vinateria’s owner. “People are really surprised about the wealth of offerings we have now…Frederick Douglass Boulevard, it’s on fire.”

Such developments are reported on Harlem + Bespoke, a six-year-old blog covering local culture, business and design. The blogger, a Harlem resident who goes by the name Ulysses, said in an interview recently that “a lot of people were saying the neighborhood wasn’t ready…or that it’s not on the same level as Brooklyn or other neighborhoods you hear about.”

Local resident Simon Cardwell with daughter Aria at Harlem Tavern.
Local resident Simon Cardwell with daughter Aria at Harlem Tavern. PHOTO: CASSANDRA GIRALDO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The boulevard’s makeover is not the usual cringe-inducing takeover story, but rather is anchored by reinvested interest from locals, and two community organizations.

“Every one of the businesses on Frederick Douglass Boulevard is owned by someone who lives in the community,” said Susannah Koteen, president of the Frederick Douglass Boulevard Alliance, and herself a 17-year resident.

In addition to Mr. Samuelsson and Ms. Koteen, who owns Lido, the owners of Bier International, Harlem Social Corner, Moca Lounge and Chocolat Restaurant Lounge, Vinateria, Mess Hall and Double Dutch are all local residents.

Once marred by dilapidated buildings, the boulevard now hums with business. A day spa, yoga studio, wine store and epicurean market reflect both a hyperlocal revival and a desire for the service and style typically found in trendy locations.

Ms. Koteen, for example, reopened Lido under new management, this time featuring aJames Beard Award-winning chef. “We worked hard to make it competitive with any restaurant in the city and [residents] have an appetite for it.”

Waiting for a table at Streetbird Rotisserie.ENLARGE
Waiting for a table at Streetbird Rotisserie.PHOTO: CASSANDRA GIRALDO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

But not all new businesses are riding the wave yet. Spurred by a doubling rent, Galip Ozvekrelocated Savann, his elegant Turkish restaurant, from its 16-year location at 80th Street and Amsterdam to 2280 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nearly a year and a half ago. He signed a 15-year lease at the same price but with four times the space. He’s willing to wait it out, but says he misses the foot traffic he enjoyed some 40 blocks south.

“I love Harlem, [but] I’m not understanding it 100% yet,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the weather or the neighborhood isn’t ready for ethnic food.” Despite the slow start, Mr. Ozvek says “it’s attractive because everyone is moving here [and] others coming will help the business.”

Newcomers won’t find housing options as plentiful as dining—stock tends to fly off the market. Jeff Krantz, a Harlem-based broker at Halstead Property, said the initial surge in construction in 2009 to 2010 produced mainly starter apartments. Now, he says, inventory in the pipeline weights toward two- , three- and four-bedroom condominiums.

“As opposed to when people bought here when it was bargain, they’re buying here now because it’s one of the last real surviving neighborhoods in Manhattan that hasn’t been taken over by the super luxury, and is still attainable,” he said.

One-bedroom condos average $800,000, and two-bedrooms price between $1.1 million and $1.5 million, he said.

Harlem Tavern owner Mr. Fagan, who belongs to two community organizations, said there is a concern that “with gentrification comes escalating prices and long-term residents who can’t afford it.

“There is a concern we’ll reach a saturation point and not every business will be sustained, and that’s happened in numerous other neighborhoods as well,” he said. “Smarter people than me have tried to work at it—I don’t know how you can combat that.”

Still, he says, “[We’re] on the ground floor of something really exciting.”

Continue reading “WSJournal : Harlem’s Burgeoning Food Scene”

Gothamist:Late Night Fried Chicken…


Harlem’s Corner Social adds a late night fried chicken menu to its roster of comfort food dishes this weekend—though you’ll have to be in the know to get it. On Fridays and Saturdays starting at midnight, the restaurant will offer just 12 orders of whole fried chicken ($30) on a first come, first serve basis. The restaurant says the fried bird will still be good the next day if you’re also saving room for another pint of beer.

NewYork.com : A Perfect Day In Harlem


Most restaurants would be lost in the shadow of Red Rooster. Not Corner Social, which is a more laid-back alternative to Red Rooster, as well as the perfect spot to unwind after dinner with a cocktail (or three). At this fashionable destination, local actors, models and young professionals mingle amid a retro industrial-chic décor by Benjamin Kay of Adorn Designs. Many of the materials used to build Corner Social were carefully sourced from the area, like the tiles across the back wall that once graced several subway stations and the distressed wooden beams that held together neighborhood brownstones. The scene in the restaurant is vibrant, diverse and inviting. “We have the best of what you can find downtown without the downtown attitude,” says owner Anahi Angelone. Weeknights at Corner Social, you may find a comedy show or a reading. The positive vibes extend to the kitchen, where chef Banks White, formerly of Minton’s, uses fresh seasonal ingredients and local organic foods in novel ways, while dishing up some outstanding American comfort food. Wash it down with an Uptown Baby cocktail (Belvedere Mango Passion, Midori, strawberry puree, fresh lime juice; $13).

Zagat: Off The Menu


In this Let’s Eat report, Zagat editor Molly Moker shows us two new off the menu items that you have to know about.

At Harlem’s Corner Social, in the know patrons are getting quite the late night treat, fried chicken and biscuits.

“The off-the-menu fried chicken really started because we wanted to reward our loyal customers. They wanted something that’s familiar and comfortable, that’s delicious,” says Banks White, executive chef at Corner Social.

“It took one Instagram picture for it to go viral,” says Corner Social owner Anahi Angelone.

However, you’ll have to act fast: chef dishes out just 12 orders on Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 3 a.m.

“This is really my grandmother’s fried chicken, the way she seasons it, the way she fries it, all very similar. I think what makes it special is it starts with a great bird. We’re getting our birds from Pennsylvania, Amish Country, we brine it for 24 hours with some salt water sugar solution and buttermilk as well,” says White.

It is awesome. The coating is really light, so it doesn’t overpower, which I really like. And the hot sauce is packing some heat.

Over in Midtown East, New Yorkers can get a taste of an Atlanta specialty: love cakes.

“Loves cakes were an accident,” says Pampano executive chef Lucero Martinez. “I was trying to make this thing from my country called tlacoyos; they consist of masa, which is corn dough and black beans. It is almost like a tortilla and you put the black beans on the inside and close them, but I was talking to my mom on the phone and I mixed everything together. I was like, ‘oh, I can’t throw this away,’ and that’s how they started.”

From this accident, love cakes were born. At Atlanta’s Flying Biscuit Cafe, the popular restaurant chef Martinez helped open, the black bean cakes have become a menu mainstay. However, here at Pampano, you have to know to ask for them.

They are smooth and delicious, with different flavors playing together. You heard it here first. You have to go to Pampano and try the love cakes, they are fabulous.

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Banks Round 2_30_150x150

Banks White

Chef Banks White’s extensive experience at Michelin rated restaurants has instilled in him the finer touches and finesse that comprise high-quality dining. He is adept at utilizing simple techniques to make food stand out and was awarded, as the Executive Chef of FIVE, the distinction of Michelin Bib Gourmand. Chef White comes from Northern California where he deepened his appreciation for using local, organic products and the importance of working with local farmers. He is an avid traveler and has pursued his passion for Southeast Asia cooking and culture with extensive visits to Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong Malaysia and Vietnam. Born and raised in Texas, Banks’ journey with food started at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier,VT where he learned classical French techniques as well as developed a keen appreciation for sustainability movement. He is excited to introduce his skill at translating cultures and flavors throughout a meal.


Anahi Angelone

To entrepreneur Anahi Angelone, creating and sustaining her Harlem
restaurant is not so much a job or an investment as it is a mission. A
proud and passionate resident of Harlem, Anahi is committed both to
honoring the legacy of this historic community and to ensuring its
future is as dynamic and exciting as its past.

That commitment underpins every corner of Harlem’s new Corner Social.
She is constantly scouting out partners in the community for
everything from vendors to staffing.