French Bistro Cedric Booted Black Women for White Patrons, Pol Says

French Bistro Cedric Booted Black Women for White Patrons, Pol Says

February 13, 2012 8:04pm | By Jeff Mays, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

Cedric French Bistro’s managing partner (from left) Dard Coaxum and co-owners Cedric Lecendre and Fabrizio Khanlari. (DNAinfo/Jeff Mays)

HARLEM — Councilwoman Inez Dickens has called for a boycott of a new French restaurant in Harlem, accusing the upscale uptown eatery of moving a group of black women to accommodate a group of white patrons earlier this month.

At one point the group at Cedric Bistro included deputy Manhattan Borough President Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, but she left before the women were moved.  However, she was called back to the restaurant by her friends later in the evening as the dispute over the move raged in the trendy spot.

In a tersely worded letter to the restaurant, which opened on St. Nicholas Avenue near 119th Street five months ago to rave reviews, Dickens accuses the owners of racism for moving the party of five high-powered black women on Feb 4.

“Racism against anyone in my community, in my district on my watch due to race, color, creed, sexual preference or perceived economic status is unacceptable,” Dickens wrote in her Feb. 9 letter to the restaurant’s co-owner Cedric Lecendre, who is white.

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Pink Tea Cup Owner Opens a Harlem Wine Bar

Pink Tea Cup Owner Opens a Harlem Wine Bar


Ozier Muhammad/The New York TimesLawrence Page at Auberge Laurent

Auberge Laurent, an elegant, brick-walled wine bar with a lounge area in the back, serves an array of wines, mostly French, and a few beers by the glass and the bottle, along with a brief menu of cheeses and charcuterie. This newcomer to Harlem is owned by Lawrence Page and was supposed to have been the uptown location for his Pink Tea Cup. Mr. Page, who owns the Actor’s Playhouse in Greenwich Village, bought the original Pink Tea Cup, a venerable diner-style soul food spot on Grove Street, which had closed, andmoved it to a larger space on Seventh Avenue South.

“I always wanted to move Pink Tea Cup to Harlem,” Mr. Page said, “but we could not get a liquor license in this space because it was too close to a church, so I settled for beer and wine and opened the wine bar.”

Mr. Page closed Pink Tea Cup about a month ago and is negotiating for a location in Harlem, near Auberge Laurent, to reopen it.

“Most of my clientele is from Harlem and the Bronx and going to the Village was not convenient,” he said. “Now there’s this whole movement to Harlem, what with Red Rooster and all.”

He said he expects to confirm the location of the new Pink Tea Cup soon, and he hopes to have it open by the spring. He is also looking to franchise it, starting in Los Angeles. But it will not be strictly soul food, he said.

Marcus Samuelsson: My Swedish Christmas in Harlem


The holidays are my favorite time of year! Christmas was always one of the biggest celebrations in Sweden and I look forward to the festivities each year. Even though I celebrate Christmas every year in Harlem now, I still brought with me my traditions and I try to incorporate my Swedish Christmas customs to wherever I’m celebrating this great holiday.

The Swedish Christmas is definitely unique, even throughout Scandinavia. Like Christmas everywhere, it’s a very family-centered holiday. Immediate and extended families gather to celebrate together in night full of eating, drinking, and laughter. Unlike the US, we celebrate Christmas primarily on Christmas Eve instead of the 25th. Interestingly enough, one of our traditions is somewhat American, when at 3pm on Christmas Eve, what seems like the entire country stops to watch the Disney special “From All Of Us To All Of You.” All the festivities like dinner and presents must sometimes wait until after Kalle Anka (Donald Duck). This funny tradition has existed for what seems like as long as TV has existed in Sweden!

The program is followed by Christmas dinner, giving of gifts, singing of carols and dancing around the Christmas tree. But clearly, my favorite Christmas tradition is the dinner when Swedes gather to enjoy a traditional Julbord. The Julbord is an extended Smorgasbord of traditional Christmas foods like Swedish Meatballs, Braised Red Cabbage, Jansson’s Temptation (a traditional potato casserole with sweet anchovies), Lutfisk, and most importantly the Swedish Ham. Our Christmas ham has a different preparation to that of the US. First we cure the ham with salt and sugar, it is boiled or baked, and then glazed with Swedish mustard (sweeter and les spicy that regular mustard). If the ham is boiled, then we conserve the liquid it was boiled in and dip Swedish rye bread (Vört) in it. For dessert we also enjoy Lucia buns which are saffron buns, also mainly eaten on December 13, St. Lucia’s Day. Of course, I can’t forget our beloved Glögg, warm mulled wine with fruit and nuts, which is drunk throughout the holiday.

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Marcus Samuelsson: My Swedish Christmas in Harlem
Marcus Samuelsson
Mon, 12 Dec 2011 14:50:27 GMT

Pioneering Restaurant Society Coffee to Close

Pioneering Restaurant Society Coffee to Close

October 7, 2011 5:26pm | By Jeff Mays, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

Red velvet waffles from Society Coffee in Harlem. (Facebook/Society Coffee)

HARLEM—Society Coffee, one of the pioneers of the restaurant boom on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, is closing its doors after seven years on Monday.

In a note to fans on the cafe’s Facebook page, owner Karl Franz Williams did not list a reason for the closure but said he was proud of his establishment’s role in helping to revive the stretch.

“A pioneer on Frederick Douglass Blvd, Society has been a true labor of love and a place I’ve called home,” Williams wrote.

“Over the years I have shared Society with thousands; I’ve watched people meet each other and fall in love, I’ve watched college students work, friends hang out, and poets write. I’ve met so many great people who have changed and elevated my life,” he added.

The blog HarlemGal posted the news this afternoon.

Williams, who also owns cocktail lounge 67 Orange, could not be reached for comment Friday. He said 67 Orange will continue to operate.

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French Bistro Cedric is Newest Hot Eatery on Harlem’s Scene

French Bistro Cedric is Newest Hot Eatery on Harlem’s Scene

October 4, 2011 6:36am | By Jeff Mays, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

click to see all pictures (6 photos)

The jerk chicken with potatoes and salad and Cedric French Bistro in Harlem. (DNAinfo/Jeff Mays)

HARLEM — Cedric Lecendre was reluctant to lend his name to the small French bistro that he opened on St. Nicholas Avenue with co-owner Fabrizio Khanlari and managing partner Dard Coaxum last month.

“It’s a bit of pressure. It’s my name on the door,” Lecendre said of his first ownership effort. But he comes from the restaurant business — his family owns Le Bilboquet on the Upper East Side.

The three friends decided that having Lecendre’s name adorn the restaurant was necessary to create the type of casual neighborhood eatery that was their ultimate goal.

“I’m a believer in the personal touch. Our guests come in and ask for Cedric,” said Khanlari, who has operated restaurants in London and whose Harlem eatery is taking part in DNAinfo’s Uptown Restaurant Month.

“It’s a small bistro, so people come in and expect to see one of us.”

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‘Taste Trolley’ Samples East Harlem Fare

‘Taste Trolley’ Samples East Harlem Fare

August 25, 2011 6:15pm | By Jeff Mays, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

The East Harlem “Taste Trolley” will shuttle eaters among 10 neighborhood restaurants on Sept. 29. (Raphael Benavides)

HARLEM — Last year’s East Harlem “Taste Trolley” was so delicious, organizers decided to do it twice in 2011.

The first trolley will tour 10 neighborhood restaurants on Sept. 29 and then again on a date to be determined during the holiday season, said organizer Raphael Benavides, owner of the Poets Den Gallery & Theater.

“Everybody has been calling us to ask when are we going to do the trolley again,” Benavides said. “This has become a fun event that people look forward to.”

The tour, in its third year, is designed to bring attention to El Barrio’s growing and diversifying restaurant scene. It costs $25 to hop on and off and sample the restaurants’ specialities.

“People are unaware of how many great restaurants we have. Maybe they know one or two but that’s all,” said Benavides. “By doing events like this we let them know there are many great places to go.”

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