If you need a reason to head to New York or to venture outside of your own borough, the highly anticipated food and wine festival Harlem EatUp may be just what you are looking for. Now in its fifth year, the festival is back with more foodilicious events spread across seven days that kick-off with an exclusive “Dine in Harlem” dinner series on May 13 and ending with its Harlem Stroll on May 18 and 19.
Co-founded by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and Herb Karlitz, Harlem EatUp! is a culinary and cultural celebration of all things Harlem. “I’m so excited that it’s the fifth year and that we’ve been able to keep doing this amazing festival. I love that in that third week in May, Harlem becomes a culinary capital for us as a village collectively. It takes the volunteers, the guests, the chefs, the restaurants, to make it happen, and any time you can work together collectively, you should celebrate,” says Samuelsson.
A True Taste of Harlem
Samuelsson and Karlitz will host some of the industry’s top chefs who will come together for a variety of culinary-inspired events during their signature “Dine in Harlem” dinner series that will be held over multiple venues and feature one-night-only collaborations between chefs and restaurants. Southern Soul meets Pan Asian at Blvd Bistro with guest chef Leah Cohen on Monday, May 13 while it’s Caribbean and Pan-African at Solomon and Kuff Rum Hall on Tuesday, May 14 with chef Kwame Onwuachi. A ticket to this event will also score you a copy of Onwauchi’s book, “Notes From a Young Black Chef.” Other dinners hosted throughout the week include World Fusion and Classic Italian at Field Trip with chef JJ Johnson and Southern Comfort and the African American Diaspora at Melba’s with guest chef Jerome Grant from the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. “Harlem has a ton of events, this is about bringing people into Harlem. We use the guest chefs to bring people from outside of Harlem and one our sponsors, Citi, their research said that we brought people last year from seven countries and 36 states and that is shining this new spotlight on Harlem,” shares Karlitz.
Fashion icon Lana Turner along with the Honorable Mayor David Dinkins will be honored at the annual Luminary Awards Dinner that will feature a curated menu by The Grey’s award-winning chef Mashama Bailey, Emma Bengtsson and Samuelsson.
A Family Food Affair
If you are unable to get out during the week or want to keep the celebration going after attending one or more of the dinners, make plans to join other foodies and festival-goers at the Harlem Stroll starting Saturday, May 18 for the two-day outdoor event that will take place in Morningside Park. Festivities for the entire family will include cooking demonstrations and live musical performances on the EatUp! main stage. Stroll around and enjoy a taste of Harlem from participating restaurants, food makers, artisans and small businesses to include: Aroma’s Boutique Bakery; BLVD Bistro; BO’s Bagels; Cove Lounge; Charles Pan Fried Chicken; Dear Mama; Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Harlem; The Edge Harlem; Ginny’s Supper Club; Harlem Chocolate Factory; Harlem Shake; Harlem Tavern; Lady Lexis Sweets; Lee Lee’s Bakery; Lolo’s Seafood Shack; Lloyd’s Carrot Cake; Maison Harlem; Make My Cake; Melba’s; Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread; Nocciola Ristorante; Piatto d’Oro; Row House; Settepani; Shake Shack; Sisters Caribbean Cuisine; Sugar Hill Creamery; Tastings Social presents Mountain Bird; Trade Street Jam Co.; Teranga; Uptown Veg & Juice Bar with more to be announced. Admission is free for both days but for a real Harlem experience, be sure to purchase tickets to the Ultimate Grand Tasting for $85 that will include unlimited food tastings and samples of wine, beer and cocktails.
A portion of the festival’s proceeds will be donated to Harlem Park to Park, City Meals on Wheels and Historic Harlem Parks as part of its mission and dedication to Harlem. In addition, the festival will add an empowerment workforce to introduce youth to the industry as well as a youth sports engagement component.
Tickets to the “Dine in Harlem” are available and expected to sell out start at $85. For more information and for tickets to the dinner series, Harlem Stroll and Ultimate Grand Tasting, visit www.harlemeatup.com.