The past year has seen a string of closings in Harlem due to the pandemic, but that doesn't mean new restaurants, cafes and bars aren't on the horizon.
The neighborhood is set to welcome a surprising number of new eateries in 2021—everything from a daytime cafe with made-from-scratch bagels to a major food hall—according to new storefront signage, public notices and announcements on social media.
Here are just some notable newcomers on TCU's radar, listed from south to north:
A notice in the window of 2099 Frederick Douglass Boulevard between W 113th and W 114th Streets shows that a new location of local Mexican favorite Cantina is coming soon.
Glossy red signage is up for the Jordan Pie Cafe at 18 E 116th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. Its new Instagram account is previewing a "plant based Mediterranean concept" with menu items like falafel and delicate cups of Jordanian tea.
Harlem restaurateur Melba Wilson is branching out from her eponymous soul food destination with a new seafood spot called Melba's Mussels at 161 Lenox Avenue and W 118th Street. The mussels-focused restaurant will open in March, according to Eater NY.
The brick-and-mortar version of Sol Cinema Cafe at 2013 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and W 121st Street hopes to open soon. The concept? Coffee shop by day, cinema showing indie Black movies by night.
BK Lobster, a rapidly-expanding seafood franchise, has installed signage up at 333 Lenox Avenue between W 126th and W 127th Streets.
Maison Harlem is getting a new next-door neighbor: Dado's Pizza at 341 St. Nicholas Avenue and W 127th Street. The new spot is "coming soon," according to its social media.
Chick'ncone, a novelty chain selling handheld chicken & waffles, is set to open a branch at 370 Lenox Avenue between W 128th and W 129th Streets.
On Columbia's rising Manhattanville campus, a food hall from chef Franklin Becker will be taking over the northeast corner of 3227 Broadway and W 130th Street with bites that could include hummus, Southern biscuits and square pie pizza. Eater NY reports the space is set to debut this spring.
Belle Harlem chef Darryl Burnette has been previewing the menu of his new cafe, Ink, set to open right next door at 2363 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard between W 138th and W 139th Streets. Already a hit: the made-from-scratch bagels served with lox.
Healthy grocery Neighbors was still looking for funding last year but now has a launch date for a mobile service: Spring 2021.
Hints of more:
A few other local businesses are teasing new projects on social media, including a possible new biscuit shop from Harlem Biscuit Company, currently operating a pop-up out of cocktail bar 67 Orange Street.