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What's Your Vibe? Inside Harlem Restaurant Week 2021
Harlem Restaurant Week is making its mouthwatering return for the 12th consecutive year from November 7th through the 21st. This year’s theme is ‘What’s your vibe?’ and that sentiment is reflected in a dizzying array of restaurants and bars designed to delight every palate including Caribbean, Thai, Italian, Soul, French, African, and Mexican fare.
“The range of cuisines that someone can experience is very broad,” founder of Harlem Park to Park Nikoa Evans Hendricks shared with Travel Noire. “It’s pretty much a trip around the world without leaving Harlem.”
This year event organizers are putting a slight twist on the participants’ list. Rather than a cursory compilation, visitors can select their restaurants from a carefully curated guide based on experiences.
“We have a cluster that is award-winning restaurants, we’ve got restaurants under tacos and tequila, we have our hidden gems [because] there are a lot of really cool spaces that you can find in West Harlem that people may not know about, and we have an LGBTQ offering,” said Evans Hendricks. “So we’ve really tried to identify different ways that people can experience the neighborhood. They may not realize we’ve got juice bars in Harlem. We’ve got all kinds of things that people don’t know. So we want people to really explore the different options based on the vibe or experience that they’re looking for.”
Prices range from $25 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menus to eats priced under $10 specials.
The event also includes a community outreach component in partnership with The Angel Food Project, an organization that services food-insecure families that have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Participating restaurants will donate a meal from their Harlem Restaurant Week menu to feed a family of four to six.
“The Uptown hospitality community really has been a leader throughout the pandemic,” explained Evans Hendricks. “We were one of the first to really start servicing the frontline workers and kind of organizing the outreach efforts to feed both frontline workers and people in the community. And so we wanted to continue that effort.”
Attendees will have 60 restaurants to choose from which might seem a bit daunting but Evans Hendrick’s highlighted a few of the new and unique experiences to consider.
There’s a new restaurant that I’m personally dying to get to but I’m so excited that they’re participating. It’s called Bar Goryana which is in East Harlem and it’s a Belize-Brazilian cocktail bar adjacent to Mojo Mousse bar which is owned by the same owner. So you can have dinner, cocktails, and then the mousse dessert all in the same venue.
It’s also one of our hidden gems because you walk into the park to get to the restaurant, and you have these wonderful waterfront views when you’re dining. So that’s another one that I would say people might discover that they could have that kind of an experience in Harlem, right in our own neighborhood.
It’s a sexy twist on tacos on the menu he [chef Brian Washington-Palmer] curates. Everything from Korean barbecue to lamb, and Cuban chicken. So it’s very international in terms of the tacos that he creates. And the venue itself is much more of a kind of a bar cocktail lounge. So it’s a very sexy lounge vibe. We’ve got a great interior. There’s a fabulous mural of Chaka Khan plastered across the entire back wall. So it’s a very sexy vibe.
Harlem Restaurant Week is presented by Harlem Park to Park in collaboration with Uptown Grand Central and the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Visit the site to see a list of all the participating restaurants.