Harlem Shake Restaurant is now officially open!
The long awaited Harlem Shake restaurant is finally open to the public today, offering a tasty menu that includes griddled burgers, New York-style hot dogs, and hand-spun shakes. Located on the corner of Lenox Avenue and 124th street, Harlem Shake gets its inspiration from Harlem’s rich culture and energy, as well as the iconic “original” Harlem Shake dance. The idea for the restaurant was in fact developed before the recent Harlem Shake viral video craze, but all of that free publicity and awareness doesn’t hurt.
I was welcomed for a preview of Harlem Shake the other day by co-owner Jelena Pasic, who was very excited to show the interior which features a retro design by Dennis Decker. It definitely gave off an old school diner vibe, which will be unique to the area. I got a kick out of the eye-catching “Wall of Fame” which featured an impressive collection photographs signed by a bunch of well known stars, as well as Harlem Shake’s restroom with walls that showcase vintage covers of JET magazine.
After scoping out the joint, I was ready to taste the goods. I went with the spicey “Hot Mess Burger” with hand-cut fries and a “Red Velvet Shake” which had bits of Red Velvet cake in it, and yes it was as delicious as it sounds. I sat in one of the comfortable booths right next to “Miss Harlem Shake,” a life-sized lenticular photo of Harlem resident and fashion model Shannon Thornton. Harlem Shake is a great place to take a date, or eat with friends, but at about $8.00 a burger (without fries) it is a bit expensive to take the family and kids out to eat after a movie.
According to Harlem Shake, other delights on the menu include the signature Harlem Classic – two 2-ounce custom blend Pat la Frieda beef patties ground fresh daily and griddled smashed-style for crisp browning and served on a toasted Martin’s Potato Roll with house-made condiments. Specialties also include the Pigskin Classic topped with crisp fried pork rinds and the Jerk Fry Burger topped with jerk-seasoned, triple-cooked fries and smoked jerk mayo, as well as juicy turkey burgers and house-made vegan burgers. Let’s not forget the New York-style all-beef hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheeses/melts, kale and legume salads, and fries hand cut from Kennebec or sweet potatoes.
Old-school, handcrafted milkshakes are said to be made with whole, all-natural ingredients, and local products like ice cream from Blue Marble, organic milk from New York Fresh Milk, and peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co., as well as seasonal fruit and hand-spun additions like house-made salted caramel sauce and malt. Sticking with a vintage diner theme, Harlem Shake also has a nice selection of vintage real sugar sodas and regional specialty sodas including Cheerwine Cherry Soda, Vernor’s Detroit Ginger, Foxson Park Birch Beer, along with a selection of draft beers and house wines.
Harlem Shake’s Jelena Pasic also mentioned that they expect to open an outdoor seating area in the near future, which will make this a nice new spot in Harlem this summer.
“Our aim is to celebrate the soul of the neighborhood and reinvigorate modern Harlem with a bit of nostalgia and a nod to pop culture,” explains Pasic. “Not to mention, bring residents and visitors high-quality, affordable offerings in a welcoming environment.”
Welcome to the neighborhood Harlem Shake!