“Where do you think you’re going,” she said with a laughter-filled smile.
She grabbed a hold of the woman’s hand as if longtime sisters playing out an inside joke. The two erupted in laughter, filled with gratitude of each others company. Gratitude. That was how I felt in that single moment as the restaurant’s owner greeted and humored her guests attending Angel of Harlem’s one-year anniversary celebration.
Anahi Angelone is the owner of one of Harlem’s hottest spots, Corner Social, located just around the corner from her newest establishment, Angel of Harlem. Upon walking into Angel of Harlem, your eyes are immediately drawn to the bright yellow sign that proudly hangs opposite the entrance. ‘Love’ it reads, ‘like nobody is watching.’ And nobody was watching as I began to ease myself into the comfort of the restaurant’s atmosphere.
I strolled from booth to table, along every inch of the hardwood walls. The restaurant is truly a community-inspired sphere. Upon stealing Anahi away for mere moments from her adoring guests, she grew passionate about her own commitment to showcasing Harlem’s community and its many voices. Whether art-based, musically inspired or politically driven, Anahi continues to foster the voices through Angel of Harlem’s platforms. As I admired the work of a local artist adorned on the restaurant’s walls, I began to see the space as much more than a place to enjoy the Caribbean and Latin American infused cuisines.
Angel of Harlem is a place to enjoy the community of Harlem and the vivacious company they keep.
Proof of this very fact arose as I reached the bar to look over the drink specials for the night. There, I met John. John is the longest running bartender at Angel of Harlem, so I knew I’d hit the jackpot. As I continued to talk to John, he exuded the exact gratitude for the establishment as just before when Anahi and her guest chatted with one another. As he genuinely thanked me for coming and celebrating Angel of Harlem’s day, I too, felt this gratitude.
Gratitude for being included in this community’s event. For throughout the night, I felt as though I was attending the trendiest block party there ever was.
They say the proof is in the beef empanada. Or at least, it was for me. The hors d’ouevres served at the event were flavorful with the perfect hint of spice. And while we’re on the topic of spice, the spicy lemonade cocktail was ordered up until they out drank the barkeep’s supply. The crowd loved the lemon and ginger-spice concoction that boasted a tasteful and zesty flavor.
Angel of Harlem’s regular menu blends flavors of the sea, such as their crab cake salad and fried calamari, with South American tastes like their Milanese de Pollo. Their drink menu nods to the vibrant nightlife of Harlem as their specialty drink is named ‘What Happens in Harlem,’ a mojito twist made with Hennessy.
It’s always a party at Angel of Harlem with its weekly events, including Wednesday’s Afrofesta with DJ David Medina and The Uptown Experience Fridays.
And did we mention bottomless brunch? Endless rum punch, sangria and mimosas served with your entree of choice. Your main course includes anything from filet mignon benedict to buttermilk fried chicken & Belgian waffles.
I could tell from the utter elation on Anahi’s face throughout the night as she interacted with her guests that this spot was as much hers and is was theirs. Anahi set out to create an establishment that was the angel in everyone’s day and I thank with the utmost of gratitude that she did.
Angel of Harlem is a stylish, trendy spot blended with all the comforts of community and love. Happy birthday, Angel of Harlem and cheers to many more!
Photos by Elliott Ashby