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Touba African Clothing Wakeur Khadim

Opening Hours
Today: 10am–10:30pm
Wed:
12–6pm
Thurs:
12–6pm
Fri:
12–6pm
Sat:
12–6pm
Sun:
12–7:30pm
Mon:
12–6pm
Location
102 West 124th Street
Neighborhoods
Location
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“People gravitate towards Harlem, ” said Leon Ellis, the accomplished entrepreneur behind Harlem Underground. Leon Ellis grew up on the island of Jamaica and went to college in Alabama. He would often stay in New York over the summers as he sold Black history books door to door to pay for his education. Upon graduating, he chose to remain in Harlem permanently and embark on a bevy of intriguing business ventures throughout the 1990s, including a gaming store, Emily’s — a restaurant named after his mother — and a barbecue joint named for his father. Today, his clothing shop is surrounded by two newer ventures: Chocolat, a full-service restaurant, and Ganache Cafe, a coffee shop. His projects as a restaurateur aside, Leon felt that he wanted to “spread the word about Harlem all over the world. ” With the neighborhood already a recognizable name, when Leon would travel outside the city dressed in Harlem gear, many people wanted to know where he purchased his clothing. Thus, Harlem Underground began with a mission: “We look to create an image or projection of what Harlem is — its music, its culture, its people. ”The shop hires local designers to create merchandise that revolves around the “raw theme of Harlem NYC. ” To Leon, this is the essence of his success. “Our resources are developed here, and we expend those resources here. We embrace the Harlem community, and we believe it embraces us. ”(Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after years of operating on 125th Street, Harlem Underground consolidated its locations and now remains open on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. )

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Sisters Caribbean Cuisine

RanDe Rogers basically grew up in this restaurant, but he never foresaw himself owning it as an adult. He was on the business track in college, and when he graduated from Tufts University in 2012, he planned to join his father's consulting business in North Carolina. However, his mother was struggling to keep Sisters Caribbean Cuisine afloat at the time, so he chose to help her, instead. Originally, the plan was for RanDe to handle customer service, social media, and to help expand the restaurant's capabilities. After a year, however, RanDe found himself taking on increasing responsibilities in the restaurant, including the role of chef. He had had a passion for cooking since childhood, so he relished the opportunity to run the kitchen. The restaurant was opened in 1993 on 124th Street by RanDe's mother, Marlyn Rogers, who was raised in Guyana but emigrated to the US for college. She was one of fourteen siblings, some of whom helped her open and run the business in the beginning, which is what gave Sisters its name. By staying true to its roots, the family-owned business has stood the test of time. During the summer of 2017, the Manhattan Sideways team had the pleasure of sitting down to lunch with RanDe. Listening to his recommendations, we tried the jerk chicken, a Caribbean staple, as well as the oxtail stew, which RanDe told us is one of their most popular dishes. In addition, we sampled an array of their vegetarian options, including curried chick peas, mac and cheese, and even callaloo - a new, but delicious dish to several of us. As RanDe shared his story, we learned that RanDe's mom never wanted to spend time in the kitchen at home when he was growing up, since she spent long hours cooking for her customers. His father was a banker who would come home from work too late to cook, so RanDe had to fend for himself. In retrospect, this is what allowed him to acquire some skills in the kitchen and to foster a love for cooking early on. Funnily enough, he was never partial to making the soul food that Sisters is known for, because he would get tired of eating the leftovers his mother would bring home. He maintains, however, that this encouraged him to learn other styles of cooking and to gain an appreciation for various cuisines, which gives him the versatility as a chef that he benefits from today. Having taken over the day-to-day operations of the business, RanDe became the official owner as of January 2017 and has devoted himself to the restaurant, hand-selecting his staff and refining the menu. "With a bit more customer service and a bit more precision, we started seeing more traffic online and in the restaurant, " he was pleased to tell us. His mother, meanwhile, continues supporting her son and the business by designing the aesthetics, including their floral centerpieces and the color of the walls and drapes - a red to match the warmth and flare of their Caribbean theme. Sisters has gained increasing acclaim, and it was even featured on the cooking show "Huang's World. " The host and internationally recognized chef Eddie Huang recommended that Sisters be included in the lineup for the OZY Fest in Central Park. When we asked RanDe whether he has enjoyed the unexpected direction his career path has taken, he replied, “All my studies never gave me anything as rewarding as making food. ” He loves watching people eat and enjoy his restaurant, especially those customers who have been coming in since they were kids. “We treat everyone who eats with us like family. ”

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Harlem Underground

“People gravitate towards Harlem, ” said Leon Ellis, the accomplished entrepreneur behind Harlem Underground. Leon Ellis grew up on the island of Jamaica and went to college in Alabama. He would often stay in New York over the summers as he sold Black history books door to door to pay for his education. Upon graduating, he chose to remain in Harlem permanently and embark on a bevy of intriguing business ventures throughout the 1990s, including a gaming store, Emily’s — a restaurant named after his mother — and a barbecue joint named for his father. Today, his clothing shop is surrounded by two newer ventures: Chocolat, a full-service restaurant, and Ganache Cafe, a coffee shop. His projects as a restaurateur aside, Leon felt that he wanted to “spread the word about Harlem all over the world. ” With the neighborhood already a recognizable name, when Leon would travel outside the city dressed in Harlem gear, many people wanted to know where he purchased his clothing. Thus, Harlem Underground began with a mission: “We look to create an image or projection of what Harlem is — its music, its culture, its people. ”The shop hires local designers to create merchandise that revolves around the “raw theme of Harlem NYC. ” To Leon, this is the essence of his success. “Our resources are developed here, and we expend those resources here. We embrace the Harlem community, and we believe it embraces us. ”(Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after years of operating on 125th Street, Harlem Underground consolidated its locations and now remains open on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. )