Tag Archives: Busboys and Poets

Savann Turkish Restaurant coming to Harlem, joining restaurant row

The restaurant scene on Harlem’s restaurant row is about to get more diverse. A very reliable source and long time reader passed along some juicy info! Apparently, the sponsor of 2280 Frederick Douglass Condominium, you know the place that was rumored to be in discussion with Busboys and Poets, but passed on sealing the deal with the DC-based chain, has recently signed a lease with the owners of Savann, a turkish restaurant that use to be located on the upper west side. This new Harlem restaurant will keep the same name and the menu will be similar, according to a source on the restaurant side familiar with the lease. Savann will rent part, not all, of the retail/commercial space that is near Harlem Flo.

If you are not unfamiliar with the former Savann, read here for more info.

And stay tune, Savann Turkish Restaurant plans to open in late 2013!

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Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore to close July 31

Harlem’s local bookstore dedicated to promoting ethnic writers is closing its doors. An html notice from Hue-Man Bookstore went out to customers today, July 1, telling them that July 31 is the last day of business.

On July 31, 2012, Hue- Man will close its current location. We all know that there is a season for everything under heaven and the season of “traditional book” selling has come to a close.

Take note of the word “current” location.  The email notice gives hope that something else or some other form of business could arise.

Closing the existing format of Hue-Man is forward thinking on our part and as we take pause to re-imagine the future of books and how to ensure that their purpose of entertaining, imparting knowledge and honing creativity is preserved, we find no viable alternative but to go back to the drawing board.

Maybe Marva Allen will consider partnering with Busboys and Poets? There were rumors way back when that these two business people talked about merging. Maybe they both should reconsider?

Read Hue-Man’s good-bye note here.

Is there still a possibility for Andy Shallal’s Busboys and Poets to expand into Harlem?

Around this time last year, I blogged that Busboys and Poets’ plans to open in Harlem at 2280 Frederick Douglass went bust. Ironically, I am now blogging about them same time, but a year later, asking: is there still a possibility that Busboys and Poets could open in Harlem?  According to a recent article in The Washington Post, there is a smidgen of hope. Andy Shallal, the owner of the Washington, DC eatery and longtime activist, recently told the Post that “he has been courted to put a Busboys in a proposed National Jazz Museum near the Apollo Theater…” How cool would that be if Busboys and Poets opened in Harlem on 125th Street?

Shallal tried landing the retail space at 2280 Frederick Douglass a little over a year ago, but something happened and the deal went south. I wonder if the developer of 2280 FDB is having any regrets now on not cutting a deal with Shallal, especially given all the enormous/positive press coverage Central Harlem has been receiving over the months? The most recent praising news clip comes from The Wall Street Journal.

In my view, the developer of 2280 FDB totally lost out by not scoring something with Busboys and Poets in their commercial space. As the WSJ said, there’s a restaurant boom happening in Harlem. With this recent article in the Post,  there’s hope the folks behind the National Jazz Museum could pick up where 2280 FDB left off and seal the deal with Shallal. Let’s all hope so! I think Busboys and Poets is a perfect fit in Harlem!

Harlem Flo buds another store, Busboys and Poets to look elsewhere in Harlem

Dec 2, 2010 @ 21:21

By HarlemGal
As expected, Harlem Flo has germinated another store at 2280 Frederick Douglass Blvd., which is about a block away from their flagship store.  I walked by Harlem Flo recently and checked out their window displays. They’re looking good! The store appears to have a lot of nice items to purchase for the home. Go by and check it out.

On a separate note, it looks like Harlem Flo will be residing in their new space alone for now and not with Busboys and Poets next door.  I have confirmation that the deal went south for Busboys and Poets to rent the commercial space at 2280 FDB. There is still hope though for the DC-based restaurant to come to Harlem. According to Andy Anas Shallal, the owner of Busboys and Poets, they are still looking for space in the general vicinity.

So this story is not over. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope Busboys and Poets finds retail space soon that meets their needs! Stay tune!

Harlem rezoning plus Frederick Douglass Boulevard equals restaurant row

Sep 24, 2010 @ 6:00

Frederick Douglass Blvd. street sign

By HarlemGal
Frederick Douglass Blvd is in the news again! Some entities are clearly getting it that FDB from 110th Street to 125th Street is the place to be! DNAinfo.com and The New York Times have recently filed stories about FDB and how it’s experiencing a boom in drinking and eating establishments. These articles even mention the buzz words “restaurant row.” Hmm…sounds familiar?

Frederick Douglass Blvd. (Circa 2008)

On September 23, DNAinfo wrote about the booming restaurant and bar business along FDB.  It was a good story. They introduced us to new information about what the Livmor is up to with their commercial space. However, I was wondering why they left out other notable places, such as Mojo, Billie’s Black Bar, Questan’s and Cafe Amrita? Amrita is at the base of 110th and FDB. Mojo and Billie’s are technically on 119th Street, they are less than a block away from FDB and Mojo and Questan’s opened for business in the last five years. I think all these venues deserved a mention in DNAinfo and The Times. Also, why not mention the proposed Cupcake Suite opening on FDB, Aloft Hotel or the rumored Busboys and Poets coming to Harlem? I guess there is so much action happening on or near FDB, it is a challenge for these news outlets to keep track!

Frederick Douglass Blvd. today

In addition, I noticed that both publications did not mention much about vacant commercial space. What are The Douglass and Gateway Condominiums planning for their commercial space? I would bet that they are aggressively trying to sell their space. I hear Society Cafe is interested in expanding their space right next door once Gateway finishes their construction. If that ends up being true, that would be great for them. They appear to have outgrown their current space.

Overall, it is awesome media coverage for Harlem once again. I love it! Out of the two articles, I will end with my favorite quote from Chris Pollok, co-owner of bier international. “My sense is that this [Frederick Douglass Blvd.] is going to be the Restaurant Row of Harlem.” I will drink to that, Chris! Strawberry beer, please!

UPDATE: Busboys and Poets owner visits Harlem

Aug 28, 2010 @ 1:04

By HarlemGal
The possibility of Busboys and Poets opening up a restaurant in Harlem is alive and well. How do we know this? Anas “Andy” Shallal, the owner of Busboys and Poets, has finally commented on the subject.

Through his Twitter account, Shallal said on August 27 that he is “visiting New York City…had a great tour of Harlem…still looking at New York…” Yes! That is good news! And Shallal even tweeted he went by Make My Cake. Sounds like he is saying hello to his future business neighbors? Also, based on the tweets the Busboys and Poets owner was touring around West 116th Street, not too far from the location where they are rumored to open, which is in the commercial space at 2280 Frederick Douglass Blvd. Recently, we told you about Busboys and Poets plan to expand outside the beltway and into Harlem.

This recent development of Andy Shallal confirming he was in Harlem definitely feeds into all the excitement. And it is keeping me on my blogging toes! Stay tuned Harlemites!

Harlem Flo potentially 2280 FBD bound

Aug 22, 2010 @ 16:57

By HarlemGal

I’ve received comments on and offline about the florist/flower shop I referenced, in my exclusive blog post on ‘Busboys and Poets plan to expand into Harlem,’ asking: which florist was I talking about?  Some of you guessed it right off the top! I was referring to Harlem Flo, a local business HarlemHouse introduced to HCL readers back in 2008. It’s a cute flower and plant shop located at  2292 Frederick Douglass Boulevard-not too far from the place their eyeing as their next home, the 2280 FDB condo building. When you ask the staff at Harlem Flo, they tell customers they’re working on it, but nothing is a done deal.

If you walk into the Frederick Douglass florist, you will see it is a small space and more square footage is needed. They have a nice selection of plants and flowers. However, they’re sort of cramped in there and it’s hard to move around without feeling like you might knock something over. As one of our reader states, they hope “it is Harlem Flo [moving to 2280 FDB] saying two florists so close together would not be ideal.”

So if all works out, the commercial space at 2280 FDB, which runs from 122nd to 123rd Street on the eastside of the boulevard, will have two distinct businesses, Busboys and Poets and Harlem Flo!

Busboys and Poets plan to expand into Harlem

Aug 10, 2010 @ 12:00
By HarlemGal
While apartment hunting throughout Harlem with a good friend this past weekend, I stumbled across some interesting information. A sales representative at 2280 Frederick Douglass Blvd., one of the new condo buildings built from the ground up in West Harlem, made a point to say to the potential buyer that their retail space was in contract with Busboys and Poets from Washington, D.C., a restaurant, bookstore, fair trade market and gathering place where people can discuss issues of importance.

The 2280 FDB sales rep was emphatic to the potential buyer about how their retail space was taken. They said Busboys and Poets is moving into their large retail space and then a florist is moving into the smaller part where the sales office currently resides. The florist will move in after the majority of apartment sales are complete.

When I heard this information, I was dumbfounded. I did not know who Busboys and Poets was even though I lived in D.C. for many years. That’s because I was long gone from D.C. when Busboys and Poets opened, which was in 2005. My friend, who was looking to buy an apartment in Harlem, knew of them and said it was a good business to come to Harlem. Interesting stuff.

So I called over to the press office of Busboys and Poets to see what the deal was and the person who answered the phone confirmed they do have plans to open another restaurant outside of the Beltway and into Harlem. However, the individual could not confirm the exact location, say when or if an agreement was signed for the first level retail space at 2280 FDB, nor say exactly when Busboys and Poets will open for business in Harlem. They had to direct me to the owner for further clarification, which I reached out to but he was not available for comment.

If all this checks out, looks like Busboys and Poets will be joining many other restaurant establishments, who have decided to make Frederick Douglass Blvd. their home! Let’s see what happens. Stay tuned!