Creole Restaurant – Harlem Travel Guide – Sutro World

French Quarter meets Harlem 

Owner Kevin Walters serves up not only Creole dishes reminiscent of the French Quarter but great jazz acts on a small, intimate stage in view of the dining room most nights. The kitchen plates up a unique interpretation of Creole – a blend of French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences – like spicy blackened catfish, Creole stewed chicken, blackened shrimp Napoleon, and several gumbo variations – even a vegetarian one. However, their signature dish – not to be missed are the sweet potato beignets (fried doughnuts).

In addition to great food, Creole offers one of East Harlem’s great bargains – either a $7 or $8 luncheon special served Mon–Fri from 12pm– 4pm.  Sundays they have brunch for $29 with unlimited mimosas.

Since opening, Creole has invigorated the uptown jazz scene especially Latin Jazz, which is only appropriate since Creole is located in the heart of Spanish Harlem, or as the locals say, El Barrio. This place is always jumping with top-notch entertainment, so check their web site calendar for the schedule.

Cuisine: Creole

Menus: Appetizers, Lunch, Dinner, Desserts

Features: Happy Hour

To satisfy your Latin music tastes it’s Casa Latino Music Shop, one of the last survivors of a dying breed—the retail music shop. A huge selection of Latin music CD’s, musical instruments and books will delight you. If you’re still in the mood to shop, visit the New Shoe World for a large selection of brand name sneakers.

Transportation: Bus—M101, M102, M103, M116. Subway—6 to 116th St.

Enjoy the show


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EVENT: The East Harlem Caring Coalition will provide free Thanksgiving Dinners for hundreds of families in need living in East Harlem/El Barrio who continue to experience financial hardships during these difficult economic times.

“Unemployment rates continue to rise in the East Harlem/El Barrio community and people are struggling to feed their families,” said Kevin Walters, Managing Director and Owner, CREOLE Restaurant and Founder of the Creole World Foundation.  “We believe we have an obligation to help our community hold on to the traditions that we have come to love. The East Harlem Caring Coalition is comprised of community leaders, local elected officials and a group of concerned East Harlem/El Barrio business owners have joined with CREOLE in hosting a Free Thanksgiving Community Dinner with all the trimmings for families experiencing hardships to be held at Holy Rosary Church located at 428 E. 119th Street inEast Harlem.”

Making this event possible are Creole Restaurant, NYC Council Member, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Law Offices of Pamela Hayes, East Harlem Restaurant & Bar Association, East Harlem Business Capital Corporation, Gran Piatto D’Oro ,

La Corsa Pizzeria & Ristorante, Sterling Affair Caterers, New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Holy Rosary Church, Hunter College School of Social Work, Artimus Construction, Make My Cake, Lettire Construction, New York Academy of Medicine, The Hollis Group and many others.

 The event is more than just a dinner to feed those experiencing hardships; it is a holiday celebration and an opportunity to recognize “community-in-action”.  Music will be  provided by Flash & The Dynamics sponsored by AARP.

WHEN:         Wednesday, November 23rd 2011               12:00 NOON – 3:00 PM

WHERE:       Holy Rosary Church, 428 E. 119th Street, NYC 10035

WHO:             East Harlem Families in need

Kevin Walters, Owner of CREOLE Restaurant & Pres. Creole World Foundation, NYC Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito,  Law Offices of Pamela Hayes, East Harlem Restaurant & Bar Association, East Harlem Business Capital Corporation, Sterling Affair Caterers, Make My Cake, Lettire Construction, Gran Piatto D’Oro, New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, New York Academy of Medicine, Artimus Construction, Hunter College School of Social Work, The Hollis Group, Holy Rosary Church, East Harlem Film Society, La Corsa Pizzeria & Ristorante

partial list

Hawaiian and Japanese Flavors ‘Yum up’ East Harlem

HARLEM— When they were kids growing up on the Lower East Side, Dave Hom and Dave Chan didn’t venture uptown much.

“I drove past the Apollo Theater once,” Chan 34, said. “I never even really went to Midtown.”

But when they were looking for a place to open up their new Hawaiian and Japanese Barbecue restaurant, Makana, East Harlem seemed like a logical choice. Rents are lower than in Central Harlem and the restaurant seemed like it would stand out.

“This area is saturated with a lot of pizza, Cuchifrito and Chinese takeout joints,” Hom said. “We wanted to bring sushi and variety to a neighborhood where there isn’t a lot.”

That is beginning to change in East Harlem. In December, a group of restaurants banded together to put together a “Taste Trolley” tour of 18 East Harlem eateries. The cuisine ranged from Mexican to a steakhouse.

“As the population and face of the community has changed, we have seen a mushrooming of various eateries,” said Kevin Walters, head of the East Harlem Restaurant and Bar Association and owner of Creole, which is located on Third Avenue between East 118th and East 119th streets.

Still, Walters estimates that 97 percent of his customers come from outside of the neighborhood.

“When we opened 7 years ago we thought there was an opportunity to be a big fish in a little bowl. We’re still waiting for the community to catch up to us,” said Walters.

Since opening in August, Makana, situated in a former Chinese takeout storefront on First Avenue between East 115th and East 116th streets, still gets the occasional customer looking for chicken wings and fried rice. But they’ve offered those customers familiar dishes like barbecue ribs and chicken teriyaki.

That has led Hom and Chan to gradually begin introducing their customers to Hawaiian treats such as Spam Musubi — seasoned rice with Spam on top wrapped in seaweed. Chan calls it the “peanut butter and jelly of Hawaii.” Loco Moco, white rice topped with a hamburger patty and a fried egg, is another Hawaiian favorite.

Boris Roques, a 23-year-old from Paris who recently moved to New York, stopped by one afternoon because roommates and friends recommended the restaurant.

“If you like Mexican food it’s perfect here. It’s hard to find the variety of food here like downtown,” Roques said. “Everybody is talking about this place because it shows the type of variety we could have in the future.”

Hom and Chan have always wanted to work together. Both spent time living out West — Hom in California and Chan in Seattle — where Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine is more common. After a career in marketing, Chan decided to return to the family business — his family has owned a Chinese takeout restaurant for 30 years. Hom comes to the restaurant field after working in marketing.

The pair keep things light at the restaurant, constantly joking about needing dates. Hom is the straight man and Chan is the comedian.

“It’s great to come into a new neighborhood and ask what’s missing and how can we add value,” Hom said.

“Actually, we got into this for the ladies,” Chan said.

Makana is Chan’s third restaurant. In addition to the family takeout, more than three years ago he opened L.E.S. Sushi on Grand Street.

Chan said opening Makana has been similar to his experience with L.E.S. Sushi.

“We just felt that East Harlem had that energy like the Lower East side,” said Chan. “We looked at this venture sort of like surfing; you want to get in when the wave is developing.”

By Jeff Mays

DNAInfo Reporter/Producer

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