Harlem is shaking up its food scene |NY Post

By Joshua David Stein

At the Cecil, Frankie Reese serves up lunch with a smile. (Photo: Gabi Porter)

At the Cecil, Frankie Reese serves up lunch with a smile. (Photo: Gabi Porter)

Though the automatic doors of Whole Foods won’t silently swish open until the end of the year at the very earliest, according to spokesman Michael Sinatra, Harlem is already preparing itself for the arrival of the bougie supermarket behemoth.

When the chain opens its eleventh location in New York City, on the corner of 125th and Lenox Avenue, it will serve a Harlem nearly unrecognizable from the days of David Dinkins.

An example: On a frigid Thursday night, on the corner of 115th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Row House — one of the many new restaurants to have opened in the last year — glowed with the warm light of bonhomie.

The restaurant, owned by Camaron Fagan and her husband Gareth and helmed by chef Andrew Welch, serves a New American menu which includes carbonara dumplings ($9) and braised short ribs ($25). By 8 p.m., it is packed.

The Fagans moved to the neighborhood six years ago. They live with their two dogs in an apartment at 126th and Lenox Avenue, a block away from the supermarket-to-be. “Personally,” she said, “I’m looking forward to the Whole Foods. It shows how the neighborhood is transforming.” The Fagans, who also own Harlem Tavern, has seen the change first hand.

“When we first arrived here, we decided to open Harlem Tavern because there was nowhere to get a good beer and relax,” she said. “People would be wandering around thirsty. Nowadays, with the way the neighborhood has changed, we decided we wanted to do something a little more refined.”

In the corridor stretching from Frederick Douglass to Lenox and from roughly 116th to 125th streets, there are scores of restaurateurs with the same idea: to cater to the new Harlemite.

Read more: Harlem is shaking up its food scene |NY Post


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