A renewed interest and growth in Harlem has seen no bounds. From park to park and from 110th Street heading north, new housing, shops and restaurants are springing up faster than can be announced. Bringing it all together is a new festival Harlem EatUp which will take place from May 14-17, celebrating the food, culture and spirit of Harlem all wrapped up in a festive four-day event.
Harlem EatUp will benefit two non-profits who were chosen for their direct impact on the Harlem community. Citymeals-on-Wheels and Harlem Park to Park. But there’s no doubt that those who really benefit are the people who call Harlem home.
You’ll recognize many of the names and faces in the Harlem EatUp group photo as restaurants who have gained a reputation and become destinations in their own right over the years, such as Charles Gabriel of Charles Country Pan Fried Chicken, Sylvia’s Soul Food and Melba’s Restaurant who will be celebrating her restaurants 10th anniversary this July and a spot on the new MSNBC Restaurant Series, ‘Consumed‘, which airs May 13. Harlem EatUp is founded by Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Streetbird.
The first night is billed as the biggest multi-room dinner party New York City has ever seen, with names like Bobby Flay, Jacques Torres, Daniel Boulud (naming only a few) as guest chefs teaming up with local restaurants for one night of exquisite dining. Culinary demonstrations will take place all day May 16th as part of The Stroll. A day of Talks on subjects ranging from ‘How To Open A Restaurant’, ‘How To Serve The Community’ or ‘A Day In the Life of a Chef’ are just a few of the topics that will be discussed at The Studio Museum in Harlem. The Strolling experience will be held on two of the days and consist of a Grand Tasting and a Sunday Afternoon in Harlem. Tickets available here
The vibrant community that makes up Harlem has seen in recent years many of the local shop and restaurant owners opening up more than one venue, including the Harlem EatUp Founder, restauranteur Marcus Samuelsson. While his entrepreneurial interests have taken him from the popular TV show The Taste to authoring several books, and even a pop-up restaurant at The Fairmont Hamilton Princess in Bermuda, here at home he has shown a penchant for Harlem’s history. Evidence ranges from his flagship restaurant The Red Rooster, named for the historic speakeasy of the same name, the vintage signage salvaged from Harlem’s historic M&G Diner used inside Streetbird, to his preference for a group photo of Harlem Chefs, set in the image of the circa 1958 black and white photo ‘A Great Day in Harlem’.
The event has an impressive list of sponsors, and Chef Samuelsson hopes to make Harlem EatUp an annual event.