OLD: Patsy’s Pizzeria
2287 First Ave., at 118th St.; 212-534-9783
Long before there were Target and Costco in East Harlem, there was Patsy’s—a reminder of the days when free-flowing fire hydrants were the biggest neighborhood nuisance. Since 1933, Patsy’s has baked thin-crust, coal-oven pies still considered by many to be the city’s best. And at under $15 a pie, they’re indisputably a good deal.
NEW: Bad Horse Pizza
2222 Frederick Douglass Blvd., at 120th St.; 212-749-1258
Bad Horse is poised to be Harlem’s own contestant in the great New York Neapolitan-pizza bake-off. Though the menu remains “in development” until its imminent opening, the owners have been whetting Twitter followers’ appetites with pics of thin-crust, mozzarella-burbling pies.
OLD: Africa Kiné
256 W. 116th St., nr. Frederick Douglass Blvd.; 212-666-9400
African—as opposed to African-American—cuisine used to mean one thing in these parts: Senegalese food, most authentically from West 116th Street’s Little Dakar corridor, where Africa Kiné serves bowlfuls of hearty West African soups and stews. The menu changes daily, though thiebu djeun—Senegal’s fish-rich national dish—is always available.
NEW: Kuti’s Place
355 W. 116th St., nr. Manhattan Ave.; 212-222-1127
West African spice mixes with North African sizzle on Ivorian chef Abdhul Traore’s tightly edited menu of grown-up street-food favorites. Get the shawarma, done up with hearty peas and Arabian spices.
OLD: Gran Piatto d’Oro
1429 Fifth Ave., nr. 117th St.; 212-722-2161
This no-frills spot, like nearby Rao’s, harks back to Harlem’s forgotten Italian past. Unlike Rao’s, however, the unconnected can actually get a seat here. White tablecloths and scarlet curtains maintain an authentically wiseguy vibe, aided by a crowd-friendly, pasta-heavy menu.
NEW: Ristorante Settepani
196 Lenox Ave., nr. 120th St.; 917-492-4806
For most of its first ten years, Settepani was a conventional café, offering basic breakfast and lunch fare. But last spring, owner Leah Abraham rebooted it as a full-scale Southern Italian trattoria. Gone are the simple salads and dolci displays, replaced by a Carrara-marble bar and Sicilian staples like pasta con le sarde.
OLD: Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
163 W. 125th St., nr. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
This spring and summer market is a much-needed dose of color in the front plaza of a drab 125th Street tower. Although smallish, the weekly Tuesday and Saturday markets feature mostly pesticide-free produce and hot dishes, organized by East Harlem’s Angela Maull, head of Chenchita’s neighborhood garden.
NEW: Marcus Garvey Park
W. 124th St. bet. Fifth and Madison Aves.; spring through November
Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer opened this newcomer in August. There are golden peaches from West Virginia’s Ashton Farms, corn and onions from Orange County farmer John Madura, and dried fruits and nuts from the Original Delancey Street Peanut Company.
Amy Ruth’s Homestyle Southern Cuisine
113 W. 116th St., nr. Lenox Ave.; 212-280-8779
Like an Upper West Side diner gone southern, Amy Ruth’s serves classic soul food inspired by the former owner’s grandmother and named after celebs. The Barack Obama is a new favorite: a quarter-chicken barbecued, baked, or fried to crispy perfection.
NEW: Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken
2839–2841 Frederick Douglass Blvd., at 151st St.; 212-281-1800
Charles Gabriel reopened in 2009 after a car crash demolished his first chicken shop three years ago. Skip the menu and go for the all-you-can-eat $10.99 lunch/$13.99 dinner buffet—steaming pans of crisp, moist fried bird, and all the sides imaginable.
OLD: Turning Heads
218 Lenox Ave., nr. 121st St.; 212-828-4600
The modern-spa look of this salon belies its two-decade history of trimming, weaving, and relaxing local curls. Semi-hidden inside a brownstone, Turning Heads lets the harried Harlemite disappear to have her locks rolled or bangs blown.
NEW: B Braxton
1400 Fifth Ave., nr. 116th St.; 212-289-3200
The old-school-barbershop craze hit Harlem with last month’s reopening of B Braxton, a men’s-only snip-and-shave spot with hardwood floors, oversize mirrors, and evening cocktails.