Total Pages: 5 Words: 1754 Works Cited: 3 Citation Style: APA Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: Comparing between Films of Cities:Berlin vs New York City
Discuss and explain how they inspired 19th and 20th century artists
-Berlin seen as Microcosm in Walther Ruttmann’s Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)
Umbo’s collages for Berlin: Symphony of a Great City
-Picturing a Metropolis: City Symphony
1931, Manhattan Medley
put “Walt Whitman, Manhatt”
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Total Pages: 2 Words: 580 Bibliography: 2 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper
Essay Instructions: How is New York City - life in the city and the city itself - a powerful component in Gangs of New York and the literature that relates to the time-period of the film? What class/racial/ethnic divides were prevalent in NYC "back then", as depicted in the film. Do not retell the story in your paper - you're writing of the impact of the setting on the narrative/literature.
Gangs of New York the film
Jacob Riis "The Down Town Back-Alleys"
second resource will be sent through email
There are faxes for this order.
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Total Pages: 2 Words: 834 Sources: 1 Citation Style: APA Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: Who and what changed the political system of New York City during early 1930’s and what factors led to its overhaul of its political identity? Was the change purely superficial or did the change have a lasting positive impact?
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Total Pages: 17 Words: 4930 References: 0 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper
Essay Instructions: 5,000 word article on African Restaurants in NYC as per the below outline, draft of 3,000 word article, interview quotes, and restaurant listings from yelp.com. This article shall have no more than 3 quotes from other sources; the rest of the quotes MUST come from the interviews below from the following people 1- Cisse Elhadji (include as many quotes from Cisse as well as his background since he’s the primary character), 2- Mona Musa, 3- Stanton Du Toit, 4- Ahmed Abdellah, 5- Sisay Kassa, 6- Lookman Mashood, 7- Papa Diagne, 8- Lamia Funti, 9- Akin Akinsanya, 10- Pierre Thiam. Work off the draft below as a guide.
Explain why each person matter to this article, how do they all relate in telling this story about African restaurants in nyc. Each person contributes.
Please read additional instructions in section (Comments | Structure | Quotes/Background | Yelp.com | Draft Article) carefully and refer to the draft as a guide to fill out article:
Article should answer the following questions: where is ponty bistro? How long has it been in business? Where does Elhadji come from? How old is he? What does he look like? How did he get involved in restaurants in the first place? How big is Ponty Bistro? How much bigger is the new place in Harlem, La Terenga? Where is the new place in Harlem? Why is he opening his second place in Harlem instead of someplace else?
How much did it cost to get Ponty launched and how long did it take to turn a profit? He has a bank loan to start the new restaurant? What bank? How much? How mush has it cost to do the renovations and what was involved? How high is the rent? How much as he borrowed from friends and family?
Identify every restaurant by location and cuisine and length of operation. Identity every owner or other source with full name, age, and country of origin and how long that person has been in the US.
In the scenes, include description. The best graft in the article shows Elhadji working the room. Describe how he looks like. Prose should be visual.
Point out the few that have closed (i.e. Pierre Thiam as per below) and why. Every place that opens is not a success, which is why Elhadji’s attempt to open a big new place is so dramatic. It could easily fail. Most new restaurants do.
Tone is key. The draft was written as if a publicist wrote it, so it’s important to maintain neutrality.
Prose. Reduce the length of sentences without sacrificing the meaning. The draft is wordy. For example, “There is a soft backdrop of blue that helps to complement the overall color scheme and the décor, giving the whole atmosphere a cool-toned, slightly futuristic and slightly industrial type feel.” It’s best to reword and say, “A soft blue backdrop gives the space a cool, slightly futuristic and industrial feel, like a hip loft in the future.”
Refer to sources and subjects by their last names after the initial mention.
Do not put quotes around restaurant names
1) Start with the scene at the soft opening of La Terenga. A scene includes not just décor, but Elhadji moving around, people eating and talking about food, quotes and description. Explain who he is and what he’s trying to do and why that is a risk (400-500 words)
2) Then the nut section that documents the rise in African restaurants, with numbers to show the growth. You can put the history ??" vendors graduating to restaurant owners ??" here. And mention the array of cuisines represented and where a lot of these new places are opening. Then the why. Quote people who know why. If it’s partly immigration, tell how many people have come to New York from African countries in the past 10 years or so. If it’s adventurous tastes, quote someone saying that. Explore this a bit. (600-800 words)
3) Elhadji. Tell his backstory and talk about his ambition and hi energy. Supply specifics. How many dinners does he serve on weeknights and weekend nights at Ponty? Size of staff? How long did it take to break even? Who does the actual cooking? Why is he gambling on a new place? And how much of a gamble is it? Costs? Loans? Size of staff? How many dinners does he have to serve to turn a profit? How is he adapting the cuisine etc for uptown? What happens if new place fails? How long can he keep it going before it enters the black?
4) The challenges of African Restaurants. Restaurant owners, the restaurant week guy, critics, go here. The ingredients issue, finding competent chefs, making menus appeal to both immigrants and non immigrants. Maybe other things that make African restaurants harder to start than others. If they are clustered in Harlem and Brooklyn, then rising rents could be a factor too. But if none of that is slowing growth, if despite the challenges there are more African restaurants every six months, quote someone about that too.
5) Mona Musa here as a secondary character.
6) Back to Elhadji and his actual opening in August. Or if he doesn’t manage to open in August, as close as you can get to the opening. Scenes of him in the new restaurant. What remains to be done? How is he managing to pay the rent? What pressures and changes are there? But he remains optimistic, so you can end with his looking forward.
----Background on Cisse
*Cisse Elhadji*, Executive Chef and Owner of Ponty Bistro (Gramercy ) and La Terenga (Harlem)
Ponty Bistro Address: 218 3rd Ave in Gramercy
La Terenga Address: 144 West 139th St in Harlem
-Cisse is from Senegal. He speaks French and his village dialect, Wolof. He’s fiercely private. He’s 5’9. He lives in Manhattan. He’s 32 years old. He’s about 5’8 tall, black, nice white teeth, pleasant smile, speaks great English but you can tell he has an accent, he’s muscular in build (although he’s lost about 10 pounds within the last month due to stress and working), typical male voice (but not too deep). He usually dresses in dark jeans and a plaid button shirt with short sleeves; otherwise, he’s wearing his crisp white chef uniform when he’s needed in the kitchen. When he greets people in the restaurant, it appears he’s known them forever. They are usually long time older (45+ years) customers who eat at the restaurant often.
-Ponty Bistro seats 40 people. The restaurant size is 1100 sq ft Enter through a narrow corridor with seating along the sides. Candles light on every table. Intimate, Cozy, Comfortable. Orange, Yellow, and Green pillows align the soft bench seating along the wall. Cherry wood tables. Warm color aesthetics, orange, yellow, crème. Small bar towards the back with about 4 bar stools. African masks are displayed along the walls. The entrance of the restaurant is a large window from the ground to the ceiling. It’s usually left open during the summer to allow a nice cool breeze. In front of that window is a chair for two people, perfect for a romantic date or intimate meal between 2 people. There’s recess lighting on the ceiling.
-LaTerenga seat 60 people. The restaurant size is 1600 sq ft.
----Quotes from Cisse from interview
-La Terenga, means hospitality in my dialect, Wolof
-I need to hire about 20-25 people for La Terenga. I create jobs. This immigrant is creating jobs!
-I’m stressed. I need a massage. I have to keep going. I hope the first month I can pay in full. I have to pay this [debt] off right away.
-It’s me and my cousin, so we split our time. There are 2 shifts. Lunch and dinner. When La Terenga opens we’ll split time there too.
-I talked to a few publicists. With Ponty I did it myself. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. I know I need someone to help, I can’t even sit in front of the computer for 5 minutes anymore.
-The target date was June 15th, but we pushed it back. I hope we can have the soft opening Tuesday, July 29th . I have 2 big inspections. We’re almost done. Just finishing touches left.
-We never lose money. We always pay our bills on time.
-Ponty? We made profit in less than a year. I do whatever needs to be done. We have 15 staff including me. Everyone has a shift.
-Like right now, I’m on my way to Restaurant Depot. I go pick up the stuff myself to save money. I buy what we need. I’m a hustler not a boss. I’m out here running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It’s hard. If I need to do the shopping. I’ll do it. If I need to do the cooking. I’ll do it. I’m tired, but I still have to work. If I don’t then I’ll lose it. All these things are important to me. I can’t fail. I have a lifestyle I want to live. I have to pay the bills. It keeps me going.
-Next year this time, I want to open another restaurant. Hard work pays off.
-Where we come from is poor. Not everyone is rich. Here you can grab soda or water. At home, you can’t even get clean water like that. I do what I have to do. I get up and work. I think big and make it work.
-I got money from New York Small Business around 135,000 and the rest from friends and family.
-Rent for Ponty is about 18,000, La Terenga is about 10-20% more.
-I don’t calculate by the number of dinners, I calculate revenue. I do it differently, Ponty needs about 80,000-100,000 a month.
-It’s stressful. Everything is on your shoulders. I do everything. I’m doing this with my cousin and sometimes we fight. He does a lot. I do a lot. My day starts in the morning I’m at La Terenga and in the evening I’m at Ponty Bistro
-At La Terenga, you see the tables, chairs, it’s sexier, modern, come here for a drink…enjoy life. Here we cater to the younger demographic. This is different, this is a lot of work. It’s a bar and restaurant
-I’m nervous, I owe money!! Ponty Bistro, I saved up for it. Now, I have debt, I owe friends and family. I owe almost half a million dollars. This is a 15 year lease.
-Ponty Bistro is for an older demographic, more conservative. This is completely opposite.
-La Terenga will be the same menu, but cut down.
-2 Reasons: 1- Always try to grow and make a better life 2- This is my real dream restaurant. I’m setting this up the way I want it. Whatever I missed with Ponty I made sure to put it in this place. This place sits 60-80 people. It’s huge. No joke!
-I’m not going to stop opening. I want to open another one in another 6 months or a year.
-I’m a workaholic. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I work. I work long hours.
-1996 I came here to this country with nothing. I just keep going. It’s life. I work hard. I believe. I play by the rules. You make money.
-If the restaurant isn’t full it will drive me crazy. I find a way. Find a solution. Rent is very high. I can’t afford 1 month without paying rent. This is my job.
-Never had a publicist. I always do it myself. Ponty Bistro was all word of mouth and yelp reviews.
-I interviewed 2 publicist last week for La Terenga. I was it to be the hottest spot. The thing about PR is that you don’t know what you will get with them. The location is key. So, we’ll see.
-I’m hungry. When you come here, you want to leave your stamp here. Maybe I was born like this. Both my parents are dead. My dad had a lot of money and 3 wives. We call him the Alhadji. My mom worked too.
-I can’t beg. I can only work hard and pay the bills.
-1996 I came to the US. I saved money.
-I love cooking. I worked in a lot of restaurants for years.
-2008. I wanted to open a restaurant. I got a 10 year lease on this place. It was in move in condition. We
did some work and in a couple of months we were open for business.
-It’s been 6 years. Very hard. Expensive. I needed to expand. Try something else.
-We put 125% in it . We cook with love. We are different. We care about service. We want them to come back. That’s how things work here.
-95% people who come here are white. They love the food. They love the service.
-6 years ago Harlem wasn’t ready. Harlem is different now. People have gentrified. Columbia bought into the neighborhood.
-This is upscale fine dining. Easy $100 checks. Rent is expensive.
-I’m writing a cookbook. About my background and how to cook
-I came into the country with nothing. Little English. Super star chef on TV. Came here at the age of 17.
-I learned how to cook here.
-Opened a restaurant for the first time with no guidance, training, just passion. You have to love it!
-----**Mona Musa, Opening up a restaurant in Harlem**
-3 kids, divorced, single mom, 2 cousins live nearby.
-I’m working hard to build a future.
-I’m 33 years old.
-Found a place in Harlem for the Somalian restaurant, but haven’t signed the lease yet. Waiting for funding.
-It’s a family business. Locations in Minnesota, Toronto, Canada, plan to open up the same type of restaurant in NYC
-I plan to hire people to manage it. Get a chef. In NYC, going to focus on healthier dishes because NYC is health conscious. Have some Somalian as the main dish, and Kenyan, and Tanzanian as some other dishes.
-I cook, but I plan to get a chef…from Minnesota.
-Build a Somalian restaurant and relate it to culture and food. Bring people together.
-In Harlem, people want good food. People travel to come and experience different foods.
-Plan to open by August.
-I want hooka bar and shisha.
-I have a muslim backround, fasting for Ramadan
-I was raised in the family business running restaurants back in Kenya.
----** Stanton Du Toit, Owner of Tolani Wine Restaurant, Upper West Side**
Tolani Address: 410 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
- Food critics don’t give African restaurants due respect that they can do it. I hired multiple PR to entice the press to review, but it doesn’t work. It’s difficult to get reviews to review African restaurants
-Tolani opened up October 2012
-South Africa is not mainstream enough for Manhattan rent
-We lead you in with an international and give you the best of South Africa
-Serve South African cuisine and wine at the forefront
-New York is completely different in terms of red tape. You need permits. So much red tape. Manhattan makes it so difficult to compete. You need deep pockets. Small businesses get squeezed out.
-Treat restaurants owners like we’re bad.
-This was in move-in condition. The licenses were already in place.
-Food critics don’t give African restaurants due respect that they can do it. I hired multiple PR to entice the press to review, but it doesn’t work. It’s difficult to get reviews to review African restaurants
-Korean, Thai, Chinese, Italian---they all get the attention.
-It will come to that cycle eventually and will expose south African, Nigerian, Ethiopian and will become trendy at some point
-Red tape is insane. Rent and payroll….crazy expenses
-People who have traveled. You find regulars who have been to South Africa. They enjoy that style of service and food when they went and they want the same here.
-Do I think South Africans come here? If you have the option to choose Chinese, Thai….what do you think? No one can cook like your mother. No one can do what mama can do.
-It has to be a group of friends. Cultural introduction.. People traveling to SA will come here so they can connect with people and friends.
-I want to see critics and reviews to feel more open. Unless you are a celebrity chef, but for many others It’s hard to get critical acclaim.
-Opening and running restaurants is hard. Intense pressure. Long hours.
-African Restaurant Week should set up awards. The best dish. Critics choice. Some sort of reward program because critics don’t pay us enough attention
-The Marrow magazine did a review on Tolani “Of wine and men” by Ellis.
-It’s difficult to get them to pay attention.
-Put articles in facebook for awareness.
-We try to make presentations. Make it clean. Old culture and change to new and contemporary. That’s what people want. Beautiful things. Everything cost money.
-People want variety on what they are familiar with. They want a lot of what they already know.
-South African wine is the value driver. Best wine growing region in the world. So it has to be in the conversation.
-We have wine tasting. The chef pairs every dish with plates and wines….cultural influence involved.
-----** Ahmed Abdellah, Owner of Accra Restaurant, Harlem**
Accra Address: 2065 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
-I busted my ass for that “A” (restaurant grade). That’s the biggest challenge in Harlem, the other restaurants need to know that they are not at home. They need to follow the policy, rules, and regulations by NYC
-Family owns 3 restaurants 1 in harlem, 1 in the Bronx (main), and 1 in Bronx (college ave)
-Not a small African restaurant. We have the potential be to be the next McDonalds.
-These are my Dad’s, I have to open one. He’s going to pass the torch. He has a vision. I want to open the next restaurant. Give me 2 years to open a new one.
-We have “Accra on Wheels”, a food truck packed and ready to go. Getting the paperwork together and looking at locations downtown.
-I want my Dad to be proud. For him to be happy it has to keep going. That’s how he sees his vision grow. Action. I want to show him.
-The success---consistency! Once you master something the first time. And you duplicate it. People know you. Duplicate it. People will come back.
-People come from all over. Customers. Africans lift us. Harlem location attracts everyone. Caucasians come to try something different.
-What’s different about us? You see the food right in front of you. People see the food they get…fresh food make people excited.
-This is a sit down restaurant, not fine dining. Very casual. Dress like whatever. Know the food is good.
-We grab a lot of African americans. Serve soul food and African food. Serve jollof rice and mac and cheese…that grabs people.
-I cook in the restaurant. I can make it.
-You’re in charge. Not just paperwordk. Roll up your sleeves and cook. I went to school, Monroe college for cooking, culinary school. I have to cook in case something happens. Worker can’t show up. Everyone knows how to cook. My happiest moment is in the kitchen.
-We get catering orders from colleges, events, festivals.
-Ahemed is 32 years old
-Import spices. Suya powder, “yagi” powder.. My Dad handles that. 100 pound bag. Special blend. It’s not the same…you need to get it. It lasts you for months. It comes from Ghana.
-we make authentic good. People say it’s just like back home.
-People see culture growing in the US. People are saying this is good. It’s a movement. But they are late. We are conducting. We do what we got to do. Accra is a name already.
-It’s a family restaurant business. We have recipes, so we wouldn’t offer a franchise. We keep the family recipes close.
-Accra in Harlem opened up March 9 2013.
-Connect on Facebook, Instagram, word of mouth, people know about it.
-I busted my ass for that “A” (restaurant grade). That’s the biggest challenge in Harlem, the other restaurants need to know that they are not at home. They need to follow the policy, rules, and regulations by NYC.
-Embrace the African community. What can I do to help business growth. Mingle with people
-Restaurants is not easy. You must love it. I play every role. I’m a plumber, cook, manager, everything, server, meat cutter, server.
-I learned to cut cow leg from my Dad….I know how to break it down. People can tell the difference between frozen and fresh meat.
-Buy fish from the fish market. Break it down ourselves. You have a choice. But I do it myself.
-I love this place. It’s my Dad. But I appreciate working for people. Be a leader. Need to be a follower not about what you know. Train yourself to be humble.
-My Dad pushed me to be the face of the restaurant
-----*** Sisay Kassa, Owner of Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant in Midtown**
Lalibela Address: 37 E 29th St
--This place opened in 2012
-Love to cook. See things from my sister’s restaurant…couldn’t find the one I wanted in Harlem, so I found a place in Midtown. Rent is tough.
-This is a 10 year lease and 5 year option
-This cost money. 6 months to refurbish. Lease Jan 2012 and opened June 8 2012
-Good relationship with community, church, a lot of people. Good reputation. Everyone was happy to help.
-We see different people, white, Spanish, etc.
-Great location. Easy transport. Close to subway and walking distance.
-The food is good. I know about 8 or 9 other restaurants and there’s no place like this. ---People review on yelp. People talk to people. They come and they know what they eat.
-We have a range of dishes…vegetarian, sampler, “awazi” spicy lamb, “kitfo” cornbeef
-Running a business is tough. Market is still. No one knows that much. Don’t know place where we are. Need more marketing. Groupon is great, it helps. Reward on Amex to get customers.
-Rent is expensive. If you cook, serve, order, I do a lot of things to make sure we survive.
-I want to open another restaurant in Harlem in 5-6 years.
-The more experience, more restaurants
-I came here on a student visa. Working hard will change your life. I love this country. It changes your life!!!
-I have 3 kids. 10, 7, and 1.4 months.
-There are about 2-3 other Ethiopian restaurants in the area. You see others coming here. There’s Queen of Sheeba on 46th st. there’s a community. We all know each other. There’s competition. Health competition.
-Most of the spices come from Ethiopia. People who delivery cargo. Get my family to bring it here
-Main spices from Ethiopia, so it tastes like home. No English word for it exactly.
*** Lookman Mashood, owner at Buka Restaurant in Brooklyn**
Buka Restaurant: 946 Fulton St
-Opened April 2010
- It’s hard to train someone else to cook. For example, “rodo pepper” you can’t write how much to regulate the amount of pepper you use. You just have to know. You know the normal helping. It’s hard. It can be done to write a recipe, but I’m not there yet.
-It’s about time. It’s been in the underground for a while.
-It’s great. 4 years….5th year going strong
-It’s not easy. I believe in what we’re doing.
-It’s African restaurant, the most difficult
-It’s a matter of time
-Everything is expensive. If I could, I would be in midtown
-I import food myself. Friends from home bring spices, shrimp…50% imported. It’s not cheap. I’ll get it myself
-I opened this place because there as a need! I’m a foodie myself. When it comes to Nigerian food, this is where most people come to. They bring their friends
-I told myself when the opportunity comes I’ll open a restaurant myself
- I’ve been here. I’ve always been here. I know this neighborhood.
-I get most of the encouragement from Non-nigerians
-I want people who want spicy food and want Nigerian food, something different. This is what you’ll find in lagos.
-If you love what you have then you can do it.
-White people buy the most “eshewu” goat head entrée here.
-I’ll open up another restaurant by the Grace of God in the next 5 years.
-There’s no media that doesn’t know about Buka
-Open a good Nigerian restaurant. We have started and the next generation will do it right and better than me.
-Restaurant is difficult. Nigerian restaurant staffing is the most difficult. The health department is your worst enemy. Regular stuff like locus bean “ogiri” fermented spice, smells really bad, but tastes good. I had to find a way to explain to them what it is!
-Cooks are mostly Nigerian or west African.
-We import egusi, locast bean, smoke fish, snail, and palm wine.
-It’s our time now. We are sitting on a goal mine. we have all kinds of events. Even the mayor wanted to come here.
-All about culture. Anything that happens in Nigeria, they come here to ask what I think is going to happen….Boko Haram. TV/Radio ask me for my take on what’s going on in Nigeria.
-I can cook everything on the menu. Sometimes I’m the only chef here.
-It’s hard to train someone else to cook. For example, “rodo pepper” you can’t write how much to regulate the amount of pepper you use. You just have to know. You know the normal helping. It’s hard. It can be done to write a recipe, but I’m not there yet.
-Everytime you come, we are very grounded. We won’t pretend.
-There are very few places to get authentic Nigerian food in new York
** Papa Diagne, Owner of Jolof in Brooklyn**
Joloff Address: 1168 Bedford Ave
-1st place was 1995-2011, then closed it. Then opened 2nd one in 2011.
-Long story. I never cooked in my life. I learned to cook in America with my sibllings. I lost my job, so I cooked for my family, then friends, then got requests from friends of friends. Had a convo with my siblings on the idea of opening up a restaurant. I fell in love with cooking.
-It’s all about consistency, flavors come alive. When you hear the name it’s quality and flavor…those 2 things must be delivered each time
-Everybody can eat it. It’s how you present it.
-The problem is how we showcase the food. In western culture. It’s beautiful and tastey.
-I’m not a chef. I cook from the heart and I present, you eat it, and you love it.
-It’s art when they show you. I give them credit. We need to work on it.
-This is a destination place for people who know.
-The concept has to be right to expand. Never had done it before. Better to know yourself.
-There is a certain way people look at you in the food industry. Not even exotic.
-Is this an African restaurant? Some are surprised to see place is nice, neat, and clean
-We have to raise the bar. We have to do it ourselves. What we have it not scary, it’s very healthy. Maybe give it a makeup. Make it look nice that’s all.
-People go off word of mouth.
-There are a lot of things we don’t use….like Maggie cubes. MSG. it’s not healthy. It’s not African
-I have 4 kids. They do orders online and take care of the restaurant. They only cook when necessary.
-what makes this different, I always have my kids and family here. I use to hold them and serve customers. Now take orders and run the restaurant.
-I do it for love. That’s how you go the extra mile.
-Now a days it’s expensive. I never had a loan. I never asked for money. No loan for the restaurant. I always wanted to be a free man.
-The secret is that you have to love what you do. If you don’t you have to leave it.
-Why more restaurants? They see some of the ones now. They left a good image of African restaurants represent…in a good way, especially in Brooklyn.
-People come back because they know what to expect.
** Lamia Funti, Owner of Le Souk in Greenwich Village**
Le Souk Address: 510 LaGuardia Pl
-1st place was 2001-2010. Opened 2nd place in 2008
-Run the place with husband and brother.
-This is the only Moroccan restaurant that rurns into a lounge…you’ll expect to see this merrikesh. Big lights, candles, hookahs, incense. This is what is expected.
-There’s the traditional aspect…all about the party and a lot of fun.
-When I came here there were 12 restaurants, no Moroccan restaurants.
-I don’t cook. I was missing Moroccan cuisine
-In the beginning, it was a small 600 sq ft place. Over a year and a half it grew to 7000 sq ft. it was something different. At that time, we were the only ones. Now there are more poping up.
-People are starting to learn about the food. Now everyone knows about the food, the dancers. People are curious. It’s a fun culture. People want to have fun, food, and hospitality.
-Our food is not spicy, it’s very flavorful. Very sweet and savory.
-“Cordemon” spice that’s hard to get. It was hard to get in the beginning, but now ingredients are easy to find these days. In the past, it was specifiarabic companies.
-We didn’t do advertising. Didn’t have to pay for it. All word of mouth.
-Trying to talk husband into expanding into another place. He doesn’t believe in franchising.
-You don’t sleep. A lot of work. You have to love it. It’s our life. 70% of the customers are repeat customers. It’s like hanging out with your friends.
-You learn by your mistakes. A lot of people have this misconception because they think it’s easy. We had a lot of thing we had to go through…make sure you have the right staff and food.
-The most challenging part if organization. It’s controlled chaos. We are 3 people. We host events, corporate parties and open to the public.
-Stews like “tangines”, couscous, are most popular
-People come because they want to discover food. Or they traveled to morocco and want to relive their experience.
-Customers are diverse. Some are famous. Everyone comes together and I want to keep it that way.
-The trend of people is interest in food. People now a days have more interest in food because of reality shows. Young people know more about food.
-Africa is such a beautiful continent. Beautiful food and culture.
-People want to explore and go to a nice fun place.
-Le souk is a market in Arabic where you sell spices
-Here we do parties, birthdays, people get married, come back for anniversaries.
-----**Akin Akinsanya, NY African Restaurant Week**
-This is a celebration of African cuisine and culture.
-We're highlighting this cause for chefs in the diaspora. Focus on diaspora, food culture, use various events to highlight things like food policy
-Here we can tell our story through our food and where it comes from.
-Before NYARW there was Taste of Africa, that’s where it started. It was an organic growth progression. It took sacrifice, time, energy, and effort to put it together.
-We see people reacting to it. Now there are a ton of carribean people here, they started Caribbean restaurant week.
-we take initiative and highlight our cultures. It’s clear we do it and get recognized for it.
-We are unique and we like to do it. Bring people together. A positive spin on our people and important to continue to do this.
-Restaurants are saying they like it and showcase restaurants. They want to do more next time and come with their own ideas.
-Gotten to a place in New York. It’s here. We want to bring our people together. It translates to us coming together and good things happen.
-Restaurant industry is huge. Why not have more? We don’t have enough. There’s a Chinese restaurant on every block. Why not have more African restaurants?
-For me, I built a brand and name while doing it. Sky will be the limit. Gives us great satisfaction when we bring people together….
-Biannual event. Spring and Fall. The next one is Oct 11-19th
-Right now, working on a kickstarter campaign for about 4 weeks in July. Raise money to do NYARW, so it can be bigger and better. Have a lot more activities, do more marketing, etc.
----***Pierre Thiam, Senegalese Chef**
-My first restaurant in Brooklyn was not really a complete restaurant. Yolele came at a break in routine. It was well received. A bistro. A shocking thing at the time in bedstuy. It became a destination.. people looking for an African experience.
-It was more than a restaurant. It was music, culture,, experience. People got the chance to travel through food. The senses are involved. Connecting the taste, smell, atmosphere, and music
-Food is central and people are aware. People looking for exotic destinations. NY is the largest restaurant business in the world. Here you discover all frontiers. Africa is the last frontier. We’re in for a surprise. Open the box for endless flavor. Hit New York. Hit customers. We’re in midtown, harlem, we’re here to stay.
-The industry is very competitive. Restaurants are tough. This is not the business to make money. Integrity, quality of ingredients, everything counts.
-Be sincere after much quality. Be creative. We have to keep growing from our parents receipes. Basis for growth. For example, French cuisine is not where it was 15 years ago
-Food evolved in New York. French then Chinese, Italian (not until early 90s), indian, thai, Japanese, Mexicans, African was bound to happen. Much of the cusine is from African…gumbo is African. Tomales were influenced by African cuisine. Africa brought rice to this country, what cuisine is there without rice?
African Restaurants: Yelp.com
Year Name Country NYC Area
1989 (25 years?) Massawa Eritrea Harlem
1994 Awash Ethiopian Restaurant Ethiopia Harlem
1995 Jollof Senegal Brooklyn
1995 The Sugar Bar African/Carribean Upper West Side
1995 African Kine Senegal Harlem
1999 Madiba Restaurant South African Brooklyn
1999 Queen of Sheba Ethiopia Midtown
2004 Kombit Bar & Restaurant African/ Haitian Brooklyn
2004 Awash Ethiopian Restaurant Ethiopia East Village
2005 Nomad Morocco East Village
2006 Accra Restaurant Ghana Bronx
2005 Zoma Ethiopia Harlem
2007 Xai Xai South Africa Midtown West
2008 Braai South Africa Midtown
2008 Ponty Bistro Senegal Gramercy Park
2008 Abidjan Ivory Coast Brooklyn
2008 Ghenet Ethiopia Brooklyn
2009 Bati Restaurant Ethiopian Brooklyn
2009 Brasserie Creole African/ Carribean Queens
2010 Buka Nigeria Brooklyn
2010 Tolani South Africa Harlem
2010 Le Souk Harem Morocco Greenwich Village
2011 B&D Halal Restaurant West African Midtown West
2012 Awash Ethiopian Restaurant Ethiopia Brooklyn
2012 Lalibela Ethiopia Midtown East
2012 La Caye African/ Haitian Brooklyn
2012 Cafe Rue Dix Senegal Brooklyn
2012 Lenox Saphire French African Harlem
2012 Accra Restaurant Ghana Bronx
2013 Accra Restaurant West African Harlem
2013 Farafina CafÃ© African Fusion Harlem
2013 Haile Ethiopian Bistro Ethiopian East Village
2013 Injera Ethiopia West Villiage/ Meatpacking
2014 Bunna CafÃ Ethiopia Brooklyn
More African Restaurants, but without open dates (Name, Country, NYC Area)
La Savane, West African, Harlem
Festac Grill & Lounge Nigeria Brooklyn
9ja Villa Nigeria Brooklyn
Africana Restaurant, Nigerian, Jamaica
Maimaâ€™s, Liberian, Jamaica
Keur Sokhna Restaurant Senegal Harlem
Keur Coumba Restaurant Africa Harlem
Uptown African Restaurant, Ghanaian, Bronx
Papaye, Ghanaian, Bronx
Ebe Ye Yie Ghana Bronx
Kaloum Restaurant, Senegalese, Harlem
La Nomade Restaurant Cafe and Bakery, Senegalese, Harlem
Treichville, West African, Harlem
New Ivoire Ivory Coast
La Baraka Restaurant French North African Queens
Salimata Restaurant Guinea
Mataheko West African Queens
Bognan International Corp West African Restaurant West African
Le Baobab Restaurants Senegal Harlem
Meskerem Ethiopia Greenwich Village
Meskerem 47 Ethiopia Hell's Kitchen
Meskel Ethiopia East Village
Luwam Restaurant Ethiopia Harlem
EN Restaurant and Bar Nigeria Brooklyn
Meytex Enterprises Nigeria Brooklyn
Wazobia Restaurant Nigeria Staten Island
African Grill African Queens
Gourmet Jollof Nigeria Bronx
Bate West African Bronx
Fouta African American Restaurant Senegal Bronx
Saloum Senegal Bronx
J Restaurant Chez Asta Senegal Harlem
KenyaBites Kenya Midtown East
Tropical Grill Nigeria Queens
Shalel Lounge Morocco Upper West
Cafe Mogador Morocco East Village
Cafe Mogador Morocco Brooklyn
CafÃ© Gitane Morocco Nolita
CafÃ Gitane Morocco West Village
Aso Rock Lounge & Restaurant Nigeria Queens
Mombar Egypt Queens
El Omda Egyptian Cuisine Egypt Queens
Shawarma Grill Egypt Kips Bay
Midnight Lounge & Restaurant Egypt Queens
Mirage African Restaurant African Brooklyn
Les Amis African Restaurant African Bronx
Patina African Restaurant African Bronx
Bab Marrakech Morocco Midtown West
Obaa Koryoe West African Rstrt African Harlem
Sunkofa African Bronx
Zerza Moroccan Home Cooking Morocco East Village
Barbes Restaurant Morocco Midtown East
Prospect Corner African Brooklyn
New Combination Restaurant African Brooklyn
Cafe La Case African Harlem
Suite 55 Morocco Midtown West
Arabesque Morocco Midtown East
Tagine Fine Moroccan Cuisine Morocco Midtown West
Year Name Location
2014 Dundun Restaurant Harlem
2014 Mona’s restaurant Harlem
2014 Cisse’s restaurant, La Terenga l Harlem
Year Name Country NYC Area
1984-1988 African Restaurant Ghana Bronx
1985-2005 Accra Restaurant Ghana Bronx
2003-2007 Yolele Senegal Brooklyn
2004- 2012 Le Grand-Dakar Senegal Brooklyn
2012-2014 Mama Joyâ€™s Ethiopia Brooklyn
The restaurant’s soft, industrial lighting makes the chrome gleam. A soft backdrop of blue gives the space a cool, slightly futuristic and industrial feel, like a hip loft in the future. Exposed brick walls that are tinged blue, the distressed wood chairs and tables have been stained a steel gray, with marble table tops. In three weeks, Cisse Elhadji, the owner of Ponty Bistro in Midtown, will open this new restaurant on 144 West 139th St, La Terengea.
Though Elhadji has succeeded once with an African restaurant, La Teregenga is a gamble. For the first time, he’s had to take on both a bank loan and money from friends and family. He estimated six months to renovate, but he’ running four weeks behind schedule. [quote him here]. While the décor is modern and chic, restaurant flavors and smells are robust, menu a hybrid of Senegalese and French meats, vegetables and spices of rich flavor. Elhadji has [explain prices and menu, check online] more diverse customer base, hoping the new place will become a neighborhood hot spot in Harlem, a haven of both culture and gentrification, attract all walks of life. Thus, the prices appeal to people from a range of income classes. The waiters are also diverse, all bilingual or trilingual.
This scene could occur in a number of African restaurants in New York City. Such restaurants have boomed in the past few years, with a new African restaurant opening in New York roughly every six months, a dramatic rise. In [reference earliest year], about [insert the number of restaurants opened] cuisines from [insert the countries].
The annual openings of African restaurants in New York have almost tripled in the last three decades since 1990, established eateries like [insert place] and [insert place] sparking new ones. African restaurants in New York started in SRO hotel rooms [insert why and how].
Creating a chic place where that people could bring their friends was important to Elhadji, something around which his entire cuisine revolves. Many of the dishes [where?] involve big plates for people to share [like what?], or smaller plates. Elhadji understands that many diners are adventurous: they want to be able to take friends to new places and be able to pick and choose among interesting dishes they’ve never had.
Elhadji moves through his current restaurant, Ponty Bistro, like a benevolent tornado. He shakes hands, laughing and talking with customers, making everyone feel welcome. He understands that success depends not only on food and décor, but on his own charisma. Many of his customers predict that La Terenga succeed because of his presence, his understanding of what restaurant goers demand.
Elhadji has scheduled the soft opening of the new restaurant for July 15 and says he enjoys the challenge of opening up a restaurant, though he also says how difficult it is. Two reasons generally underscore his actions. First he says, “Always try to grow and make a better life.” Second, La Terenga is the restaurant he has wanted his entire life: big and expensive. A self-professed workaholic, who doesn’t smoke or drink but believes in the importance of working long hours, he wants to keep opening new restaurants every 6 months or year. As he explains, “In 1996 I came here to this country with nothing. I just keep going. It’s life. I work hard. I believe. I play by the rules. You make money. If the restaurant isn’t full it will drive me crazy. I find a way. Find a solution. Rent is very high. I can’t afford one month without paying rent. This is my job. Never had a publicist. I always do it myself. Ponty Bistro was all word of mouth and yelp reviews.” [Who is he? Age? Nationality? Background? Description?]
However, for the new spot, Cisse has interviewed two publicists, he understands that with this bigger venture, he needs to promote it more aggressively. His reasons for working so hard, for wanting to leave his stamp on New York, is an aspect of coming to America, Elhadji says. The nation presents an opportunity for people to put their stamps on it.
He also speculates, that perhaps part of his motivation stems from the fact that both his parents are dead.
A typical day involves getting up at 5am and going to his computer to answer email and check inventory. He then heads over the new restaurant to check on the construction work assess its progress. His schedule involves a series of meetings with a range of people working the project, such as publicists, social media icons. Around 4pm, he goes to Ponty where things are being set up for the dinner shift. During dinner, Elhadji bounds through the restaurant, helping to expedite orders and making sure to greet customers. He completes his day at home [where?] with a two-hour session on his computer to check email, stay in touch with vendors and distributors.
A variety of factors have helped propel this wave of African restaurants. Some are connected to immigration, a growing familiarity with this population, and an overall trend towards a more adventurous taste in eating.
Serving African cuisine presents certain challenges. It can be harder to find African chefs [why?], though New York’s African immigrants has made this simpler. [what other challenges?]
However, experts see the rise of African restaurants as a natural progression. These new immigrants started small [what did they sell?], getting their bearings as street vendors, then expanded. By starting small, they could determine what was popular with their clientele and with all average New Yorker’s palate, and get their feet under them as business-people. It also gave them a time to make connections and to organize before paying rent and hiring employees. They learned to omit certain ingredients either because they were unable to source the ingredients here or import ingredients to keep the authentic tastes of the dishes. Papa Diagne at Jollof’s at home in Brooklyn says he never cooked in his life, he learned how to cook [he learned to cook traditional foods like rice, stew, etc] in America with his siblings: once he lost his job, he got requests from lots of friends of friends to cook for them, and he got the idea of opening up a restaurant. “I always have my kids and family here. I use to hold them and serve customers. Now they take orders and run the restaurant.”
Location continues to be a vital factor, says Ahmed Abdellah, owner of Accra Restaurant in Harlem: “The success---consistency! Once you master something the first time. And you duplicate it. People know you. Duplicate it. People will come back. People come from all over. Customers. Africans lift us. Our Harlem location attracts everyone. Caucasians come to try something different.”
Akin Akinsaya, founder of New York African Restaurant Week [how long has this been happening?] is also an African immigrant from Nigeria. [Include quotes and background of restaurant week]
However, because these restaurants also cater to immigrant communities, they offer an array of unfamiliar flavors. For example, Sisay Kassa, founder of the Ethiopian restaurant Lalibela in Gramercy Park, notes that friends and family help import the right spices. "Ethiopians can tell the difference in spices. I get my spices from Ethiopia [like what? Examples?]; I got my family to bring it." Mashood uses the same approach to stock Buka with the right ingredients to give his Nigerian clientele the true taste of home [like what? Who imports it? Flesh out more].
Akinsaya can explain the success and phenomenon of so many of these African restaurants [Include quotes from interview] The impetus for the celebration of African cuisines is that food is seen as a logical natural of the culture and of the community and the entire work in pushing forth the African culinary arts means sharing that history and background with others who might totally be unacquainted with it. For instance, Lamia Funti, the owner of La Souk [which is what? Where? And how old?] takes pride in the diverse clientele: “Customers are diverse. Some are famous. Everyone comes together and I want to keep it that way. The trend of people is interest in food.”
New York African Restaurant Week promotes food and culinary creativity, but is also tries to give others a taste of history and understanding about African taste in the diaspora. “African cuisine, just like culture all over the world, there is a place where cultures intertwine and intersect and different things happen at the point where they intersect,” Akinsaya adds.
Mona Musa is another restaurateur who has had a profound influence on the development of new African restaurants, plans to open a Somalian restaurant in a few months in Harlem. An event like New York African Restaurant Week can help her in network and learn about recipes ??"particularly useful in New York where, as one restaurant owner explains, owners face a ton of bureaucracy to work around. Stanton du Toit, owner of Tolani explains, “New York is completely different in terms of red tape. You need permits. So much red tape. Manhattan makes it so difficult to compete. You need deep pockets. Small businesses get squeezed out.”
[Scene after opening: For Cisse Elhadji, the opening of his restaurant was a wild success. New York came out in droves to sample his newest culinary endeavor. The restaurant was so packed; they even had to close early. Elhadji was elated, saying that this is just the beginning.]
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