Get a taste of Harlem food and culture at the 5th annual EatUp! Festival

The fifth annual Harlem EatUp! Festival is set for May 13 to 19 throughout New York City and will feature foods from dozens of restaurants and culinary masters.  Photo Credit: Harlem EatUp!

From May 13-19, meet culinary masters, try Harlem’s best foods and visit a wine and beer garden.

The fifth annual Harlem EatUp! Festival is set for May 13 to 19 throughout New York City and will feature foods from dozens of restaurants and culinary masters. 
The fifth annual Harlem EatUp! Festival is set for May 13 to 19 throughout New York City and will feature foods from dozens of restaurants and culinary masters.  Photo Credit: AmNewYork/Mark Chiusano

The only thing smoother than Harlem’s jazz scene is the endless flow of foods pouring out of every restaurant.

Now in its fifth year, the Harlem EatUp! Festival is striving to make sure that every New Yorker and tourist knows just how great – and great tasting – Harlem is. From May 13 to 19, festival-goers can get a taste of special menus curated by local restauranteurs, with food by Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Harlem, Sisters Caribbean Cuisine, Trade Street Jam Co., Lee Lee’s Bakery, and more.

“Spending time in Harlem is a feast for the senses in so many ways,” said food critic and Top Chef host Gail Simmons in a release. “Its music, food, history, architecture and cultural relevance are unsurpassed, now more than ever.”

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s events:

EatUp! Downtown

Before the festival really gets started, foodies can take part in a dinner with Chef Marcus Samuelsson, who is a culinary contributor to Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, Streetbird Express, Uptown Brasserie at John F. Kennedy Airport and many more restaurants around the world. Tickets are $50 and include dinner, a $20 Macy’s gift card, a copy of Samuelsson’s “The Red Rooster Cookbook,” and a gift for Macy’s credit card holders. The first 20 Macy’s cardholders to show their card and check-in at 5 p.m. will be able to meet Samuelsson at a cocktail party after the dinner.

Harlem EatUp! will include a free marketplace in Morningside Park where guests can get food from local vendors. 
Harlem EatUp! will include a free marketplace in Morningside Park where guests can get food from local vendors.  Photo Credit: Harlem EatUp!

WarmUp! to EatUp!

Plans don’t stop with just one pre-festival event. Activities include: 

  • April 7 – Art in Flux art demonstration (free);
  • April 8 – JBF Greens food culture exploration with food and cocktails at Solomon & Kuff ($75);
  • April 12 – Harlem Stage music festival with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Saul Williams, Logan Richardson and more ($25);
  • April 13 – Mano A Mano Mexican culture kids activity day (free);
  • May 4 – Harlem Derby’s seventh annual Run for the Roses Gala ($150 for access to the gala and the Harlem Stroll Grand Tasting).

More WarmUp! events are on the festival website.

Dine in Harlem series

This event is a multi-night food tour series throughout Harlem. Guests can pick and choose which restaurant to attend – there’s a new one every night – and will receive festival-special courses paired with wines, beers, alcohol and live music. Guest chefs, including Andrew Zimmern, Leah Cohen and Marc Vetri, will also be in attendance. Tickets range from $85 to $250.

The Harlem Stroll

Held in Morningside Park, the Harlem Stroll offers a free marketplace for visitors to stop by artisan vendors, enter giveaways, enjoy a beer and wine garden, a spot for kids to enjoy games and activities, watch food demonstrations and bust a move with an all-day dance party. Adults who are 21 and older can also take part in the Ultimate Grand Tasting on May 18 and 19 for $85 a person to get alcohol samples and try signature dishes from more than 20 of Harlem’s best restaurants.

A portion of this year’s events will be donated to Harlem Park to Park, Citymeals on Wheels and Historic Harlem Parks. Additional events may be announced through the start of the festival. Tickets and more information is available at HarlemEatUp.com.  

Li Yakira Cohen