It may feel quiet on the food front right now, but Harlem is preparing for a steady stream of restaurant openings this year.
A mix of old spots in new locations and fresh destinations, this starter list includes everything from the first Harlem branch of a wildly popular Atlanta vegan chain to a sweet new place to grab gelato. (Even more spots are on the horizon, but haven't made it official yet.)
The newcomers, listed from south to north, are as follows:
Last year Harlem soul food queen Melba Wilson announced she would be branching out with a new seafood restaurant called Melba's Mussels at 161 Lenox Avenue and W 118th Street. An opening date is still TBA as of now.
After closing its original Lenox Avenue location in 2020, Michelin-starred Sushi Inoue said it planned to reopen in the new Victoria Theatre redevelopment at 233 W 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Frederick Douglass Boulevards (the address is also the future home of two new new performance spaces from the Apollo Theater, plus a new Renaissance by Marriott hotel).
Slice shop Dado's Pizza debuted last year at 341 St. Nicholas Avenue and W 127th Street with plans to open a beer spot next door.
Harlem vegan pioneer Uptown Veg, around since 1994, is opening a new uptown location at 349 Lenox Avenue between W 127th and W 128th Streets.
Panda Restaurant and Lounge is coming to the 5,000-square-foot space at 2331 12th Avenue and 133rd Street last occupied by rum hall Solomon & Kuff.
Avrilililly's, calling itself "Harlem's newest ice cream spot," will debut later this winter on Amsterdam Avenue between W 138th and W 139th Streets offering gelato, cakes and more.
The Vale Public House, replacing Lyn-Genet's Kitchen, will be a new neighborhood bar at 3473 Broadway between W 141st and W 142nd Streets.
Iconic soul food spot Charles' Pan-Fried Chicken hoped to open its new location at 340 W 145th Street and Edgecombe Avenue last year, but has been held up while waiting for permits and the gas to get turned on.
Bird in Hand, a 2,400-square-foot bar and restaurant at at 3569 Broadway and W 146th Street, is waiting for remaining approvals and hopes to open in a month (thanks for the tip @nic_ducharme).
A few more spots on TCU's radar (with no address or opening date yet):
Serengeti Teas & Spices closed on E 125th Street in 2021, but its owner has plans to reopen a new cafe somewhere in the neighborhood this year.
2023 has even more in store, including Harlem chef Alexander Smalls' plans for an ambitious new African food hall called Alkebulan, to be located somewhere near 125th St.