Tipsy Diaries acknowledged the West Harlem Food & Beverage Association along with DNAinfo, Harlem Times and Harlem World.
Local restaurants work together in new trade association
The West Harlem Food and Beverage Association is Savona Bailey-McClain’s attempt to show outside businesses that they can prosper in Harlem.
By Emma Stein
Spectator Staff Writer
Published October 11, 2012
Created: Thursday 11 October 2012 04:56am
Updated: Thursday 11 October 2012 04:56am
Local restaurant owners are banding together to promote the up-and-coming restaurant industry in Morningside Heights and West Harlem.
Savona Bailey-McClain, the former chair of Community Board 9’s Economic Development Committee, founded the West Harlem Food and Beverage Association in January in an effort to bring attention to restaurants between 110th and 145th streets and from the Hudson River to St. Nicholas Avenue.
When the community board was looking for a boat operator to work out of the recently renovated West Harlem Piers Park, operators were reluctant to come to West Harlem, Bailey-McClain said, because they didn’t think the area could attract visitors.
The Food and Beverage Association is Bailey-McClain’s attempt to show outside businesses otherwise, beginning with the neighborhood’s restaurant scene.
“If they’re not familiar with the area, they’re not going to know where to go,” Bailey-McClain said. “You’ve got to show people where the restaurants are.”
Arnold Boatner, chair of Community Board 9’s Waterfronts, Parks, and Recreation Committee, said that Harlem’s shifting demographics have contributed to growth in the restaurant scene. The area is home to an increasing number of young people with financial means.
“People who are younger and who are affluent are looking for places to dine,” Boatner said. “Places like Harlem Public—if you go there, you’ll see a lot of young professionals.”
The Food and Beverage Association currently has 20 members, spanning Morningside Heights and West Harlem, and while most of them are restaurants and cafés, Bailey-McClain hopes to bring in representatives from other parts of the industry, including florists and food stylists. Still, the association’s membership is diverse, ranging from fixtures like Toast to restaurants that are just getting started.
More established members, like Havana Central, are already involved with trade associations. The restaurant’s other locations, in Times Square and Yonkers, are active in their neighborhoods.
“Our UWS location did not have the same sort of specialized and localized community to be a part of, and the WHFBA really met that need for us,” Tanya Castaneda, Havana Central’s marketing and social media manager, said in an email.
Newer restaurants see the association as helping them find their footing. Lauren Lynch, the owner of Harlem Public—a bar on 149th Street and Broadway—looks to the association as a way to get to know other businesses.
“We’re still in the soft opening stages right now, but there are things to be said about strength in numbers and bringing attention to the west side of Harlem,” Lynch said. “The best thing about the WHFBA is it brings business owners in the same area into the same room to discuss challenges and look to the future.”
Some members say they are already benefiting from joining the association. Rahel Tekeste, the manager of Massawa—an Eritrean and Ethiopian restaurant on 121st and Amsterdam—said that since joining, “there has been a definite growth in clientele, and I’m sure we’re going to see more.”
Other restaurant owners, though, haven’t seen results yet. Ifan Chang, co-owner of Jin Ramen and Chokolat, said that since the association is still in its infancy, it’s “too early to tell what it can do for its members.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The West Harlem Food & Beverage Association wish to congratulate our members LeMonde, Jin Ramen, Dinosaur Bar-b-que and Harlem Public for being selected for the tasting event Savor the Season Uptown! with Chef Marcus Samuelsson
Contact: Savona Bailey-McClain [email protected]
(August, 2012) West Harlem, NYC… A food revolution has been quietly budding for quite some time uptown. And now fine dining restaurants, cafés, wine shops, food producers and suppliers have come together on the western side of Harlem to showcase their dishes to fellow New Yorkers.
Four members have been selected to represent West Harlem at the tasting benefit Savor the Season Uptown with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. The event will benefit Harvest Home Farmer’s Market whose mission is to provide access of fresh fruits and vegetables to low and moderate income neighborhoods around the City.
Savor the Season Uptown will be the tasting event of the fall. Chef Samuelsson will curate a signature dish from ten establishments north of 110th Street. Harlem Public will curate infused beers and spirits for guests to taste. Eric White, manager of The Winery will select several wines for the evening.
The West Harlem Food & Beverage Association, a new trade association hopes to work with the City of New York to attract boat operators to the new West Harlem Piers Park and tour operators looking to spotlight local foods in our neighborhoods.
For further information about the West Harlem Food & Beverage Association, please visit our website at http://www.whfba.biz.
HARLEM’S CHIPPED CUP OWNERS DISCUSS OPENING, COFFEE ‘GEEKING’ (July, 2012)
The owners of a new coffee shop in a Starbucks-dominated area of Harlem recently opened up to the Village Voice about the experience of opening an independent coffee shop, coffee geeking and learning customers’ tastes.
Karen Cantor and Andrew Ding opened Chipped Cup coffee house several weeks ago in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood. The name was originally going to reflect the location, but the duo deviated from that plan. Kantor explains:
We’d always wanted to have our own thing in the neighborhood where we lived. Originally we were going to call the place Hamilton Coffee because it’s Hamilton Heights, but then we thought, “That’s so boring.” Why is it that everywhere in Harlem is named Harlem something and then the type of place it is? The process for finding a name took a while and we talked with family and friends about ideas. The name Chipped Cup was inspired by some of the art I like, primarily Edward Gorey who’s the author of these sort of macabre adult illustration books. I wanted the same vibe of being cute but not too cute and a little off. Andrew and I were talking about names and he actually was the one who eventually blurted out the Chipped Cup. We threw in coffee and victuals, to the title, so that people knew we weren’t an antique store or something.
Cantor also discussed bucking the “weird corporate lifestyle” offered by Starbucks, which is the shop’s only specialty coffee competitor in the neighborhood:
I’ve always been an avid coffee drinker but I wasn’t quite the geek that I am now. There is definitely a whole subculture of coffee geeks who are very serious about the preparation and enjoyment of coffee. It’s a part of this whole third wave of coffee where it’s not just this caffeine delivery system or where, at Starbucks, you’re paying for this weird corporate lifestyle. It’s about actually enjoying the coffee and identifying the different tasting notes and flavor profiles ne in Guatemala.