If you’re looking for a new spot to get your All American eats in, with a twist, Harlem Shake is the must go, see and eat!
I got the chance to sit down with Jelena Pasic, owner of Harlem Shake, and got a little background on why exactly Harlem Shake should be on your foodie list.
I visited their newest and 2nd location in East Harlem, at the corner of 2nd Avenue and East 111th Street . As I entered I found myself bumping to some Beyoncé and Notorious Big then some Erykah Badu and The Weeknd. Awesome playlist, check.
Beyond the background jams, the space took me back a couple decades with the 1950s style counter, menu and dining area, and my eyes fixated on the jukebox and prominent Wall of Fame and Wall of Fro.
The neighborhood itself, two blocks from the Harlem River, is up and coming with new businesses arriving many of them of a food and drink focus.
Harlem Shake’s flagship, located in Central Harlem at 100 West 124th Street, which opened in May of 2013, is the inspiration for the decor, from the tile and ceilings to the color scheme.
The name Harlem Shake might also seem pretty self explanatory, but there’s more to it. Yes the name did originally come from the featured milkshakes on the menu and we all remember the ‘Harlem Shake’ dance craze back on 2013. As you look around the space you learn more about Harlem Shake’s culture.
The Wall of Fame dons the portraits of over one hundred famous and notable celebrity patrons and supporters of Harlem Shake, from those involved music to those in art and fashion.
As for the menu, key items include organic milkshakes; actually all the dairy on the menu is organic! The burgers are also made from grass fed beef sourced from Pat LaFrieda. The most popular dishes include the Hot Mess burger, a classic topped with picked cherry pepper, bacon relish, American cheese and smoky chipotle mayo. For shakes, The Red Velvet flavored Harlem Shake is the one to try. Specials only available at the East Harlem location included the Pulled Pernil Sandwich and the Parcha milkshake among others.
There are also many beverages to pair with your meal. For beer there are 8 drafts on tap and 8 cans/bottles of beer to choose from. The wine selections are broken down into cheap, good, bougie categories to assist the less wine inclined and sold by the glass or bottle. The popular “Notcracker” is wine based drink, derived from the infamous Nutcrackers we see sold on sidewalks and in train cars, but much more classier.
Brunch eats are also at the top of the list, like the Shrimp and Grits with Turkey Sausage, Fish & Chips which uses fresh fish and the Harlem Hangover with spicy sweet potato and pepper hash with a fried egg.
The annual Mr. and Mrs. Harlem Shake competition wraps up on the 1st of May, with voting starting on the 15th of May. The competition looks at more than just looks, contestants must also be involved in and making a difference in their community. To apply you must be a Harlem resident between the ages of 18 and 98. The winners gets their portrait added to Harlem Shake’s Wall of Fame, and a chance to ride in their African American Day float. Rounding it off is $1,000 for the winner and $500 to their favorite charity, and lets not forget the free burgers for a year! Think you got it takes? You can apply here!
Next month the location will be opening up the sidewalk area for seating, so be sure to stop by for delicious eats, drinks and ambiance before the word gets out!