Harlem’s African Restaurants Banking on Home Cuisines to Survive Gentrification
By Caleb Mutua
RLittle Senegal hub on West 116th St. where three remaining African restaurants operate in East Harlem, Manhattan, August 2017. Photo: Caleb Mutua/ Caleb Images.
Retail space is a hot commodity in Harlem. A string of West African restaurants and other businesses line the blocks on West 116th Street, commonly known as Little Senegal. Chain eateries like Subway are also finding their way into the heart of this historically black community that is now attracting new and more affluent residents, forcing longtime immigrants and poor tenants out of the neighborhood.
To compete with the rival restaurants and attract the new residents that are unaccustomed to the African culture and dishes, the few remaining West African restaurants are banking on the uniqueness of their home cuisines.
Tucked a couple of blocks uptown is African Kine, one of the oldest West African restaurant in Harlem. The