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No Flash in the Pan

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You can’t talk about fried chicken in this town without talking about Charles Gabriel, Harlem’s critically acclaimed frymaster who began his career twenty years ago selling chicken out of a truck. Until recently, Gabriel ran a three-shop operation on Frederick Douglass Boulevard called Charles’ Southern-Style Kitchen and moonlighted at Rack & Soul. But eight months ago, a car plowed through one of his storefronts, taking out the beloved steam-table buffet and dashing the dining dreams of soul-food aficionados everywhere. On October 15, he finally reopens his flagship, this time as Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken, calling attention to the increasingly rare method he employs to fry his legs, wings, breasts, and thighs, turning them frequently in his custom-made manhole-size skillets. How does it feel to return to his old block? “Beautiful,” he says. 2841 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 151st St.; 212-281-1800.


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