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The most notable openings in Harlem and beyond in 2019

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

Chef JJ Johnson returned to Harlem with his fast-casual rice restaurant Fieldtrip at 109 Lenox Ave

Noteworthy new restaurants, bars and coffee shops kept opening this year in Harlem and beyond–almost too many to count. Here's a shortlist, divided into a few handy categories:

[Updated 1/7/2020]

Restaurants with star chefs

Big-name chefs were behind a trio of the most notable eateries to arrive uptown this year.

First came Senegalese-born chef Pierre Thiam's West African comfort food spot Teranga at the Africa Center at 1280 Fifth Ave.

In July, chef JJ Johnson—the former executive chef at The Cecil—returned to Harlem with his fast-casual rice restaurant Fieldtrip at 109 Lenox Ave.

And on Strivers' Row, underground dining pioneer and Bravo TV alum Russell Jackson opened Harlem's latest fine dining destination: Reverence, an 18-seat spot at 273 W 138th St offering a five-course tasting menu for $98.

Archer & Goat debuted at 187 Lenox Ave, offering a contemporary menu with Latino and Bangladeshi influences

Photo: Archer & Goat

Around the world and back

Offering a contemporary menu with Latin American and Bangladeshi influences, Archer & Goat finally debuted this year at 187 Lenox Ave.

Greek sit-down restaurant Elysian Fields came to 1207 Amsterdam Ave near Columbia University.

West African restaurant Assinie moved into the corner location at 121 St Nicholas Ave, most recently home to Make My Cake.

Lyn-Genet's Kitchen at 3473 Broadway introduced elevated comfort food based on the owner's best-selling anti-inflammatory diet book.

Over in East Harlem, modern Spanish tapas spot Gaudir opened at 251 E 110th St (the old Mountain Bird space), while Amuse Bouche started offering French pastries and lunch items inside La Marqueta at 1580 Park Ave.

A casual new destination for oysters, burgers and, of course, brunch, Alison debuted this fall in a light-filled space at 1651 Lexington Ave.

Combining Latin and Mediterranean fare, Barcha came to 2241 First Ave with a strong list of craft beers, cocktails and wine.

Naughty Crab arrived at 1621 Lexington Ave, bringing Cajun-style seafood boils perfect for your next mukbang.

Roasted meat and Oklahoma barbecue expert Au Jus expanded to 1569 Lexington Ave in East Harlem.

Troubled Inwood waterfront spot La Marina shuttered, transforming into new barbecue and seafood destination The Hudson.

Relocations, renos and renamings

Two of Harlem's most popular food destinations changed addresses this year: French gem Mountain Bird relocated to a bigger location at 2162 Second Ave.

Meanwhile, modern soul food spot BLVD Bistro moved from the ground floor of a brownstone at 239 Lenox Ave (now home to newcomer Indian Summer) to a larger corner space at 2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Modern soul food spot BLVD Bistro moved to 2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd in Harlem

One yearlong renovation later, Columbia-area Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant Massawa reopened at 1239 Amsterdam Ave just in time for the new school year.

A protracted reno also just came to an end at Indian fusion spot Chaiwali (it got one star from the New York Times in 2016), occupying the bottom two floors of a brownstone at 274 Lenox Ave.

Harlem restaurant pioneer Settepani remodeled its space at 196 Lenox last winter, debuting a modern interior with a renewed focus on pastries, panini and pasta.

Wine bar L'Argot opened and closed at 142 Hamilton Place in the same year, recently turning into Northern Italian spot L'Artista.

Greek street food destination Whaddapita at 1625 Amsterdam Ave shuttered over the summer and underwent a name change and paint job, becoming Salt & Sugar.

Slice joint Pizza by Lucille's debuted at 26c Macombs Place


New pizza spots continued to debut uptown, including slice joint Pizza by Lucille's at 26c Macombs Place, a new venture from the Oso team.

Roland's opened at 303 W 127th St–a roomy sit-down pizzeria from the team at Harlem Bar-B-Q next door.

Southeast Asian

From the owners of Indian restaurant Mumbai Masala came River Thai at 1766 Amsterdam Ave, a new spot with a huge menu of Thai classics.

Corner pub The Expat at 64 Tiemann Pl introduced a Thai- and Vietnamese-influenced menu with signature cocktails like the Bangkok Mule.

Coffee shops and more

Two popular coffee shops chose to move into Manhattanville, home to Columbia University's new campus:

Plowshares Coffee debuted a 3,500-square-foot roastery, training space and cafe at 1351 Amsterdam Ave.

Dear Mama expanded its minimalist cart in Columbia's Jerome L. Greene Science Center into something much more destination-worthy: an airy, plant-filled space at 611 W 129th St complete with a drool-worthy breakfast and lunch menu.

Dear Mama expanded to 611 W 129th Street, an airy, plant-filled space complete with a drool-worthy breakfast and lunch menu

In a novel mash-up, Manhattanville Coffee opened a daytime-only location inside newcomer Lucille's at 26 Macombs Pl.

NBHD Brûlée brought Illy coffee, breakfast and lunch to Strivers' Row at 2620 Frederick Douglass Blvd.

The City College area got its first bubble tea spot with Tidal Tea at 1520 Amsterdam Ave.

Brothers Mohammed and Rahim Diallo finally realized their dream of opening a cafe specializing in ginjan, a popular West African ginger juice, at Ginjan Cafe at 85 E 125th St. There's coffee and crepes, too.

New York chainlet Birch Coffee debuted its first Harlem location this spring at 1330 Fifth Ave, offering everything from lattes to red eyes.

Further uptown, Hudson Heights brew spot Forever Coffee Bar opened its second location at 502 W 167th St, while Ethiopian roaster Buunni Coffee expanded into the GW Bridge Market with not one, but two locations.


Lucille’s came to 26 Macombs Pl, serving cocktails and a short dinner menu after 4pm.

Watering hole Penny Jo's–the sister spot of Uptown Bourbon–opened its doors at 3898 Broadway.

Swanky new cocktail bar Sugar Monk debuted at 2292 Frederick Douglass Blvd, the perfect spot for drinks before or after The Apollo Theater.

Swanky new cocktail bar Sugar Monk debuted at 2292 Frederick Douglass Blvd, the perfect spot for drinks before or after the Apollo Theater

Photo: Sugar Monk

Harlem Wine Room came to 3454 Broadway, offering a solid collection of wines by the glass and live jazz in the evenings.

Washington Heights coffee shop Taszo branched out with cocktails at T2 La Maison at 366 Audubon Ave.

Hell's Kitchen sports bar 123BSB expanded to 712 W 125th St right by the Hudson River, offering $1 sliders, $2 shots, $3 beers.


East Harlem welcomed a number of notable new bakeries this year, including Pabade at 135 E 110th St, Super Nice at 156 E 117th St, and commuter favorite Zaro's at 1825 Park Ave.

Last but not least, Dulceria debuted at the end of the year at 2220 Frederick Douglass Blvd, offering handmade Chilean pastries.

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