Harlem’s Frederick Douglass Blvd. is home to a restaurant renaissance

Exciting new food scene represented by eateries such as The Park 112, Vinateria, Harlem Food Bar, Lido and Harlem Tavern

The jerk prawns with cheese grits at Park 112 in Harlem

The jerk prawns with cheese grits at Park 112 in Harlem

Harlem has emerged as one of the city’s hottest dining scenes in recent years. Now, a new crop of restaurants is upping the game again.

The center of activity is Frederick Douglass Blvd. — Eighth Ave. north of 110th St. — known as Harlem’s Restaurant Row.

Pioneers like 5 and Diamond, Zoma, and Chocolat lead the charge there. But a new wave of hot spots are building on the boom they started — from the wine-focused The Park 112 to Italian restaurant Vinateria to the hip Harlem Food Bar.

Pouring the El De Ruben cocktail from Vinateria in Harlem

Pouring the El De Ruben cocktail from Vinateria in Harlem

The boulevard’s transformation started a decade ago, when New York City rezoned 44 blocks in south-central Harlem. At the time, 40% of the boulevard’s 226 storefronts were vacant.

The resulting condo boom fueled a rush of restaurants as entrepreneurs jumped in to serve a growing population. And the latest eateries on FDB may be the most exciting yet, with a gamut of cuisines and moods to rival any downtown neighborhood.

The burger from Vinateria in Harlem

The burger from Vinateria in Harlem

Here are five of the street’s most happening newcomers, from a hyper-hip wine bar to a sexy trattoria to a one-time gas station that’s become the hood’s coolest watering hole.

The new kid on the block, The Park 112 opened last month with a sumptuous, supper-club interior and an accent on wine. But even with glittering chandeliers and tufted-leather banquettes, there’s a friendly vibe that makes this sophisticated spot cheerful.

Owner Yvette Leeper-Bueno (l.) and executive chef Gustavo Lopez at Vinateria

Owner Yvette Leeper-Bueno (l.) and executive chef Gustavo Lopez at Vinateria

“With an average of 25 people moving to Harlem every day, people are looking for a dining experience they get downtown but with a touch of uptown soul,” says owner Lew Tucker.

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Frederick Douglass Boulevard: Newly Revived

Morningside Park, with the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in the background, is one of the  parks near this revitalized corridor of Harlem.

Morningside Park, with the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in the background, is one of the parks near this revitalized corridor of Harlem.

New York has had its share of neighborhood turnarounds in the last 20 years, but few have been as rapid and transformative as that of Frederick Douglass Boulevard, a formerly blighted corridor of often-abandoned tenements interspersed with rubble-filled lots and tire-repair shops. Sometimes called Eighth Avenue, Frederick Douglass originates at 110th Street, the longtime psychic barrier between the Upper West Side and Central Harlem, and runs to the Harlem River Drive above 155th Street, near a public housing development on the site that New York Giants baseball once called home.

The boulevard forms the spine of a 44-block area from 110th to 124th Streets that the city rezoned in 2003, allowing some residential buildings of greater density. In the decade since, spurred by city subsidies and rising values, that southern stretch has experienced a surge of construction, producing crisp-looking condominiums, rental buildings, restaurants and cafes. The boulevard has also been spiffed up in spots north of 125th Street. “In 1988 it looked like Detroit does now,” said Willie Kathryn Suggs, a longtime Harlem resident and broker. “Now, if you’re living in the neighborhood, there are people out there all the time, and you don’t feel you’ve got to get out of the subway and jump in a cab to go two blocks.”

For C. Virginia Fields, who lives near Eighth on 138th, the changes represent something of a vision realized. When she took office as Manhattan borough president in 1998, the city owned most of the buildings on Frederick Douglass below 125th; she pushed mixed-income development.

“We did drawings and we scheduled tours, in big Greyhound-type buses, where we brought developers up from downtown as if they were immigrants coming from a foreign land,” she said. “Because the properties were city-owned, the buildings along Frederick Douglass were purchased for little or no money, and the developers got tax breaks.”

Among the many new residents were the restaurateurs Stephen and Sheri Wilson Daly, who in 2007 fled a tiny one-bedroom rental on East 91st Street, paying $940,000 for a three-bedroom in a mixed-income condo near Eighth. Although delighted with a 25-year tax abatement, the couple were less impressed with the scant restaurant and shopping choices.

“On Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 9, between 2007 and 2011,” Ms. Daly said, “you could watch droves of people heading to Frederick Douglass and hailing cabs to leave the neighborhood because there were so few places to go in the area.”

In response, the couple opened Harlem Tavern, a family-friendly bistro, on 116th and Eighth, replacing a shuttered auto-repair shop. The menu was priced reasonably, Ms. Daly said, “so we wouldn’t alienate the neighborhood; we wanted new residents, but we wanted the old residents, too.”

Others have set up shop on the boulevard’s new restaurant row. In April, Yvette Leeper-Bueno, who lives nearby in a redone single-room occupancy rowhouse, opened Vinatería, a trattoria that would not be out of place in SoHo. “This neighborhood’s been able to retain its character and still open itself to new and wonderful things,” she said. “It’s still evolving.”

What You’ll Find

The renaissance of the boulevard got a jolt of energy with the city’s recent $25 million sale of a site at 110th and Eighth to an affiliate of Artimus Construction for a 127,000-square-foot mixed-use project. Replacing a BP station at the boulevard’s gateway, the project will have some 56 units, at least 20 percent below market rate, as well as space for the Millennium Dance Company, said a spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Artimus is the developer behind the new One Morningside Park luxury tower, also on 110th.

Side streets are pulsing with life as well. In some cases, homeowners are renovating townhouses for themselves, with rentals to offset mortgage costs. In others, developers are reimagining houses as boutique condos.

On 112th west of Eighth, Ms. Leeper-Bueno added projecting angled windows to her south-facing rowhouse, gaining a western view of Morningside Park and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. At 233-235 West 113th, Epic Management is developing two townhouses into a 10-unit condo. “Harlem is still a village,” said Jeffrey Berger of Isen & Company, the firm handling the sales, so quaint buildings “are desirable.”

Housing officials say that unsubsidized private development in the area would never have happened without city investment in low- and mixed-income housing. Some 2,725 units of income-restricted housing have been created in Central Harlem since 2002; more than 1,650 were built or preserved along Eighth.

“Now it’s possible for a private developer to go out and get private financing, without city subsidies, for a building of market-rate rentals or sales,” said Marc Jahr, the president of the city’s Housing Development Corporation. “But the only way we reached this point was through an enormous infusion of city subsidies.”

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Harlem Tavern Owners Eye New Washington Heights Location

image640x480WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The owners of the the popular Harlem Tavern are taking their beer selection farther uptown, opening a second location on West 164th Street in Washington Heights.

The new venture, the Heights Tavern, will feature outdoor seating for 80 people with 20 beers on tap when it opens in June at 3910 Broadway.

Harlem Tavern was opened in 2011 by Harlem residents Sherri Wilson-Daly, Steve Daly and Gareth Fagan. The space, which was converted from a rusted gas station, has turned into a community hot spot that features work from local artists and musicians.

“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to do in Harlem,” said manager Amanda Rensch, “and we feel like Washington Heights is a community that is similar.”

While the Heights Tavern won’t be a beer garden like the Harlem location, the atmosphere will be similar. In fact, the Heights Tavern will serve the same menu.

“We’re really devoted to maintaining the tavern theme and genre and food style,” Rensch said.

Rensch added that the Heights Tavern hopes to integrate into the community by hiring Washington Heights residents as well as partnering with community groups and supporting local artists.

The Heights Tavern, which is taking over space from a shuttered Chase Bank location, will also have two private party rooms, which Rensch said will be available for community use.

“We want it to be a location where people can have a meeting or host a fundraiser,” Rensch said.

April 11, 2013 7:15am | By Nigel Chiwaya, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130411/washington-heights/harlem-tavern-owners-eye-new-washington-heights-location#ixzz2QIqGHmzH

Gay Jazz Club During Harlem Renaissance Gets One Last Hit — A Wrecking Ball

A block of Seventh Avenue in Harlem, between 131st and 132nd Street will be the new home to an eight-story, 115-apartment building. But to make way for the new, one must get rid of the old, including the iconic Ubangi Club.

ubangi-club-360x228The Ubangi Club was housed, along with Connie’s Inn, in the former Lafayette Theater and an abutting structure where the new apartment complex will soon stand. Once known as the Harlem Club and the Harlem Tavern, when the speakeasy re-opened as the Ubangi Club in 1934, Gladys Bentley, a butch lesbian jazz singer backed up by a chorus of gay men, became the headliner.

In his 1945 autobiography, The Big Sea, Langston Hughes wrote that Bentley was “an amazing exhibition of musical energy – a large, dark masculine lady, whose feet pounded the floor while her fingers pounded the keyboard — a perfect piece of African sculpture, animated by her own rhythm.” Continue reading

Rezoning Transforms Character of Harlem Boulevard

The fragile yet promising community of new businesses around Frederick Douglass Boulevard from 110th to 125th Street in Harlem is struggling to maintain the charm that has attracted new residents, shoppers and diners in the face of large-scale development nearby and a still-shaky economy.

The 124-room Aloft hotel, on Frederick Douglass Boulevard near 125th Street, opened in 2010. Two recent closings — Nectar, a wine bar at 121st Street, and Society, a cafe at 115th Street, both recently shuttered — point up some of the challenges. Among them are the housing slump, which closed off the pipeline of new developments in the area; the arrival of nationwide chain businesses in the district, like a Red Lobster set to open on West 125th Street near the Apollo Theater; and the persistent debate over gentrification.

Louis Gagliano, who in 2007 took over Harlem Flo, a florist at 2292 Frederick Douglass at 123rd Street, and in late 2010 opened Harlem Flo Boutique, a gift shop a block south, said that to compensate for lower-than-expected foot traffic, he has created an active schedule of book signings, tea classes and fashion events. “You have to bring awareness and create other opportunities,” he said.

Nonetheless, independent restaurants and shops continue to sprout along and adjacent to Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Among the newcomers are Harlem Shambles, a butcher shop, and Harlem Tavern, a sports bar with a popular outdoor patio.

Other recent arrivals along the boulevard include Patisserie des Ambassades, a West African bakery that also serves sandwiches and salads; Levain, the cookie purveyor whose other store is on the Upper West Side; Lido, a bustling Italian restaurant; 5 and Diamond, a restaurant that has managed to survive turnover in the kitchen in the last two years; and Melba’s, the soul food restaurant created by a relative of Sylvia Woods, whose namesake restaurant is on Lenox Avenue and 127th Street. There is also a high-quality supermarket, a yoga studio and a CVS.

Marva Allen, who has run the Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe at 2319 Frederick Douglass near 123rd Street for 10 years, said she was concerned about the development pressures confronting the area.

“Harlem was oversold and underdelivered,” she said, noting that an expected influx of new residents has been slow to build, in part because of the financial crisis that afflicted the condo market in 2008 and 2009, pushing back the pace of construction, although a number of projects have recently opened.

Starting in the early 2000s, condominium and apartment development in the area soared because of Bloomberg administration initiatives and rising housing values.

A 44-block area centered on Frederick Douglass from 110th to 124th Streets and Morningside Park to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard was one of the first of the Department of City Planning’s rezoning efforts under the leadership of Amanda Burden, said Edwin Marshall, who led the rezoning for the department.

The city saw the area as “an untapped resource,” Mr. Marshall said, referring to great swaths of vacant city-owned land following the extensive seizure of properties across Harlem as landlords walked away from tax bills.

The rezoning led to more foot traffic and more retailers while reducing allowable building heights to 10 to 12 stories from 18 to 20 stories on the boulevards and preserving blocks of brownstones on the side streets.

Some 1,100 housing units have been created in the rezoned area, most along Frederick Douglass.

Kelley Lassman, an associate professor of education at Pace University, was one of the nonresidents who bought into the area as the market grew. Ms. Lassman bought her one-bedroom on West 117th Street in 2008, a year after moving to the city from Nashville. “Then everything crashed. It was really unnerving,” she said.

Her building, a seven-story rehabilitated school now called the Fitzgerald, was one of a few new projects available to buyers at the time. “A lot of the buildings weren’t ready,” she recalled. “Now, there are 15 buildings that are ready for sales. It was a neighborhood in transition.” Ms. Lassman was the first buyer to close, and now just seven of the 47 condos are unsold.

She describes the ethnic makeup of the building as mixed, adding that there are couples with and without children, as well as professionals and artists. “Age-wise, it’s leaning toward younger people,” she said.

Ms. Lassman said that although many people often have “preconceived ideas” about the area, “once they visit they really enjoy it. I like that there’s a lot of economic diversity in this neighborhood.”

One decidedly nonindependent business now operating along Frederick Douglass just south of 125th Street is the Aloft hotel, a 124-room Starwood franchise that opened in December 2010. The general manager, Daniel Fevre, said occupancy for 2012 is expected to be “well above 70 percent.” Planning for the project began six years ago, including ground-floor retail and 44 market-rate condos, most of which have been sold.

Mr. Fevre said his guests reflected the Aloft brand’s younger target market, with a mix of European and Asian customers and a spillover of visitors to nearby Columbia. More than half of the 28-person staff are local residents, he said. Echoing Ms. Lassman, he said that “a lot of my guests are still worried about Harlem. The big challenge is to get everybody to come.”

The late February closing of Nectar, the wine bar at 121st Street, was as much a reflection of the changes taking place along Frederick Douglass Boulevard as was the decision to open it as the economy crested in 2008. Four years earlier, with development beginning to stir, Jai-Jai Greenfield and a partner opened Harlem Vintage, a liquor store next to the Nectar site that has proved more durable.

The optimism behind the wine bar came face to face with the stark reality of still-slow foot traffic, limited hours of operation and its own limited menu and alcohol selection, on top of a struggling economy. Its closing as other businesses arrive reflects a developing streetscape that is only slowly catching up to the dreams of some of its biggest boosters.

Even that pace may feel too rapid and sweeping for some longtime business owners and residents, who will most feel the pinch of rising rents along with the more benign effects of gentrification.

The benefits of growth, including greater retail diversity, increased services, new residential units and safer, busier streets also can price out neighbors and shops of long standing.

Ms. Allen said some of the businesses that are arriving in the district, like the Red Lobster, represent a mainstreaming that suggest the area is “not even Harlem any more.” But she said that “business has grown every year” at Hue-Man Books. “It’s a niche market bookstore,” she said, “so it’s not as affected as other independents.”

And though she clearly has her concerns about where Harlem may be headed, she is also hopeful. “It would be great to retain its villagelike quality,” she said. “I hope it can be sustained.”

The Winery – Harlem Travel Guide – Sutro Media

Sommeliers at your service

The Winery focuses on small-production boutique wines from both the new and old worlds. Free wine tasting Friday 6pm–8pm.

If your food tastes lean to something new and different, Harlem Tavern is the place to stop by for a beer and burger in Harlem. A sure place for dessert is Make my Cake for delicious baked goods in the traditional down home Southern style.

Transportation: Bus—M2, M3, M7, M10, M116. Subway—B, C, 2, 3 to 116th St.

Enjoy the show

Features

  • More than 360 entries with over 2000 photographs
  • This visually rich app consists of detailed New York City visitor’s information from visitor centers, tourist websites, weather, news, holidays, sales tax, smoking rules, tipping and transportation to and from airports and in the city
  • Detailed descriptions which include uncommonly known cultural and historical facts, websites, phone numbers, hours of operation, prices, menus and hyperlinks that link entries and lead to websites for additional historical and factual information.
  • Entries sorted by name, category, distance, price, and neighborhood
  • Once click to websites, phones, online ordering, online reservations, current menus and more
  • Live calendar
  • Ability to share user comments and mark and save favorites
  • Ask the authors questions through in-app comments to get personalized feedback at your finger tips
  • YouTube videos
  • GPS enabled Google maps with walking, driving and mass transit directions
  • Access offline content anytime
  • Free upgrades for life

What’s inside

  • Nightlife and entertainment from jazz, Latin salsa, opera to classical music;
  • Theatre, dance, spoken word and more;
  • Restaurants featuring soul food to French cuisine and everything in between;
  • Unique ethnic retail shops;
  • Museums that celebrate various cultures;
  • Fine art galleries;
  • Majestic churches and gospel music;
  • Amazing landmarks;
  • Parks and free recreational activities;
  • Guest accommodations;
  • Free internet access and Wi-fi locations;
  • Authentic tours of Harlem;
  • Annual events and festivals;
  • Sales & Deals

   Literally a guide in my pocket

Posted by Max on 13th Jan 2012

I can only subscribe to what other people already have told about the guide. It’s just great that I can read a place description, actually give a call its manager, find it on a map and even hook up on its Twitter channel to keep my eye on it. Very smart!

Download the free Sutro World @ www.sutromedia.com/world and purchase the Harlem Travel Guide today for $2.99!

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Outdoor patio at Harlem restaurant remains popular – even in the winter

When Harlem Tavern opened last summer, it was the place to be uptown – especially the spacious outdoor patio.

But it left customers constantly asking employees the same question what would happen to the outdoor space when the weather turned cold?

Owner Gareth Fagan said the solution was to enclose the patio so customers can continue to dine on the popular outdoor space.

“The patio was the draw,” said Fagan, whose restaurant on the corner of W. 116th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd. opened in July.

The Harlem Tavern, W116St. and Fredrick Douglas Blvd. has an outdoor eating area in a heated tent.

The busy corner eatery, once the site of an auto body shop, often had a long line of people waiting just for a seat outside.

“It just shows you what a need there was ,” he said. “It’s kind of like the ‘Cheers’ of the neighborhood. People can come in and see people that they know.”

Outdoor seating has become increasingly popular in Harlem, with many restaurants along Frederick Douglass Blvd. and Lenox Ave. offering the option for their customers.

But Harlem Tavern is one of the only restaurants to keep the seating option available all year round.

Fagan said the initial vision was to enclose the patio during the winter. The patio seats more than 200 people, but only about 140 were included when the space was enclosed.

“We wanted to create the atmosphere that you’re outside. Almost like a conservatory,” he told the Daily News this week, looking up as the rain hit the tent. “It’s too much square footage to lose.”

Since November, the patio has been enclosed and there are heaters placed throughout the tent to keep customers warm. The space will remain enclosed until the end of April, Fagan said.

“This is like an extension of the restaurant,” he said, adding the red vinyl tent, held up by carefully constructed steel beams, is still attractive. “It doesn’t look like an eyesore.

“We brightened it up,” he said. “I hope [the restaurant] becomes a staple in the community, like the town hall of Harlem.”

Locals packed the restaurant on Sunday to watch the Giants defeat the 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl. Now, Fagan and his team are planning for a big Super Bowl party.

“We wanted somewhere where everyone could come, and just feel comfortable,” he said.

Nathan Karpowich, 35, and Julia Sable, 35, enjoyed their lunch at the restaurant with their two-year-old daughter Phoebe on a rainy Monday afternoon. They first came to the restaurant and sat outside in the summer. Since then, they’ve frequented the restaurant about once a month. It’s Phoebe’s favorite place to eat, and her parents like the restaurant because they said it’s one of the few “kid-friendly” eateries in the neighborhood.

“We were super happy they put this here,” Sable said of the tent. “We love it. This is her favorite place to eat.”

By Michael Feeney / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/outdoor-patio-harlem-restaurant-remains-popular-winter-article-1.1011770#ixzz1kcEc7LqO

Calling it a night?: Harlem Bars Slam Community Board Proposal

Barkeeps say 2am close would kill business 

HARLEM BAR AND RESTAURANT owners fear that a new proposal requiring local establishments to stop serving liquor at 2 a.m. could close the tab on their late night business.

The proposal, initiated last week by Community Board 10’s Economic Development Committee, would require new businesses seeking a liquor license recommendation from CB 10 to agree to stop serving two hours earlier than the 4 a.m. norm in the rest of the city.

“The entire city is open until 4 a.m. so if Harlem bars were to close at 2, it would put us at an extreme disadvantage,” said Sherri Wilson-Daly, one of the owners of the popular Harlem Tavern on W. 116th St.

“For them to put our businesses at a disadvantage like that is doing a real disservice to the community.”

Although CB 10 cannot change the hours of operations for existing businesses, the board can omit their liquor license recommendation for new businesses seeking approval from the New York State Liquor Authority.

CB 10 is still in the early stage of the proposal process and will further examine the effects of the plan before moving forward, said CB 10 Chair Henrietta Lyle.

“There’s still a lot of work being done looking at the economic effect and police reports by the community board,” said Lyle. “It is still in the early stages.”

As more bars and restaurants continue to pop up in bustling Central Harlem, CB 10 aims to limit the late night crowds that have appeared in other bar-ridden areas of Manhattan, like Murray Hill and the Meatpacking District.

“They’re nervous that Harlem will become like the Lower East Side or Meatpacking District with lots of people in the streets, but we are still very far away from that,” said

Susannah Koteen, the proprietor of the Italian restaurant Lido on Frederick Douglass Blvd. and W.117th th.

“We’re keeping people in the community, hiring people from the community and bringing money into the community, so it seems strange that would want to hinder business,” she added.

In August, CB 6 approved a similar proposal forcing bars and restaurants in the Murray Hill area to meet with the New York State Liquor Authority if they wanted to keep serving later than 2 a.m.

“It’s hard to do business in Manhattan,” said Koteen. “If businesses want to stay open a little later and make a few extra bucks, why not?”

BY Joseph Tepper
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Harlem Draws a Restaurant Crowd

Star chef Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster, pictured, has become a Harlem hot spot since opening a year ago.

For many years, even as Harlem gained new residential developments, its restaurant scene—with the exception of a few reknowned soul-food places—had lagged. That’s no longer the case, as Frederick Douglass Boulevard has become a veritable restaurant row and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster has become one of the hottest places in the city, from a location just north of 125th Street.

In fact, over the past three years, at least a dozen new restaurants, cafes and bars have opened in Central Harlem, between 110th and 125th streets. Notable newcomers include Cédric, a French bistro; 5 & Diamond, a nouveau American spot; Bier International, a popular beer garden; Lido, an Italian restaurant; Harlem Tavern, which transformed a former auto body shop into a massive outdoor dining area; wine bar Nectar; and cocktail lounge 67 Orange Street.

And more are in the works, including wine bar Auberge Laurent, Honecomb Burgers and Harlem Food Bar.

“I resented the fact that my amenities had to be less because I lived above 96th Street,” said Mr. Samuelsson, who moved to Harlem seven years ago with the intention of opening a restaurant there. “American companies are looking at India, China and Brazil as emerging markets. For me, Harlem is an emerging market.”

When Red Rooster opened a year ago, with its menu of reinvented American food, packed bar and diverse clientele, it put an imprimatur on a neighborhood in transition.

“Many areas that used to be considered ‘fringe’ have become hot and hospitable for retail and restaurants,” said restaurant consultant Michael Whiteman. “This is continuing despite the country’s economic problems because New York never really went into collapse and there’s still lots of money being spent here.”

Harlem, of course, is one of the city’s most history-laden neighborhoods, the center of African-American life in a neighborhood filled with churches, jazz clubs and the famous Apollo Theater. After a severe decline, development began again in Harlem in the 1990s, spurred by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. Harlem got a new supermarket, a movie theater, and a Starbucks.

And as residential real estate boomed, developers built upscale apartment complexes, including the Livmor and Soha 118. The growth in new eateries followed, albeit after a lag.

There are economic incentives for being uptown. Rents are a lot cheaper and spaces smaller, lower the risk of new ventures.

Rents go from $50 a square foot for basic spots to $120 a square foot for prime locations on 125th Street, according to Alex Hill, a broker at Winick Realty Group, who has done deals in the neighborhood. “The market is pretty variable right now,” Mr. Hill said. “Most of the inquiries are for restaurants.”

By comparison, rents along Broadway on the Upper West Side averaged $326 a square foot in the third quarter, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s retail report.

There are still risks for Harlem’s restaurant renaissance. While Frederick Douglass has become a restaurant magnet, much of Lenox, which is a far-grander European-style avenue, remains largely empty.

Leah Abraham and Nino Settepani, the couple behind Ristorante Settepani that opened on Lenox a decade ago, recently nixed plans for a pizza restaurant across the street due to the economic climate and financing difficulties.

Despite the uncertainties, the area restaurant scene is gaining momentum.

“There’s not so much room in Manhattan anymore,” said Cédric Lecendre, co-owner of Cédric and former general manager of Le Bilboquet on the Upper East Side, which is owned by his uncle. “You want to open in the 80s or 90s? It’s packed. In the Meatpacking District? It’s impossible,” Mr. Lecendre said. “Manhattan is an island, and there’s only so much room left.”

Harlem Tavern Brings Germany Uptown With a Local Oktoberfest

Harlem Tavern has 18 beers on tap. The restaurant will host its first annual Oktoberfest on Oct. 22. (DNAinfo/Jeff Mays)

HARLEM — Harlem Tavern wants to bring a little bit of Germany to Harlem when it kicks off its first annual Harlem Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 22.

The restaurant’s spacious outdoor patio will serve as the meadows of Munich and visitors will be able to sample several beers from brewers such as Sam Adams, Goose Island, Hoffbrau and Becks. Jagermeister will also be on hand with shots.

“We want to have a good time and we want to put on an event for the neighborhood,” said Harlem Tavern co-owner Gareth Fagan, 33.

In Germany, Oktoberfest runs anywhere from 16 to 18 days, starting in September. The annual festival has become one of the most popular in the world with over five million visitors. Revelers consumed 7.5 million litres of beer at this year’s festival, according to reports.

Harlem Tavern opened in July and is located at Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 116th Street. (DNAinfo/Jeff Mays)

There are dozens of other Oktoberfest festivals all over the world.

Bar manager Eric Binder said he is expecting hundreds of visitors during the one day event. In addition to the 10 draft beers that will be available outside, Harlem Tavern’s full beer menu will be available. The festival will also feature grilled bratwurst, sausages and live music.

“In planning this we’ve had a chance to talk to customers and everyone loves the idea. We are hoping the community comes out and tries out something a little different,” said Binder.

The American-style beer garden opened in July and features 18 beers on tap and 40 craft beers. Harlem Tavern’s owners tappped help from Seedco, a national nonprofit contracted by the New York City Department of Small Business Services, to try and hire locally.

Fagan, who also lives in Harlem, says he feels like the restaurant is being embraced by the neighborhood.

“There was a real demand for something like this because the response from people, whether they’ve been here 50 years or two years, has been positive,” said Fagan.

Harlem Oktoberfest starts at noon and runs until 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. Admission is $10 which includes two drinks. Additional beer or food tickets will sell for $5 a piece. The restaurant is located at Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 116th Street.

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20111006/harlem/harlem-tavern-brings-germany-uptown-with-local-oktoberfest#ixzz1aF2eEXIF