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Lolo's Seafood Shack

Opening Hours
Today: 12–9pm
303 West 116th Street
Lolo's Seafood Shack 1 Seafood Harlem Morningside Heights

Although in a prime maritime location and littered with a number of world-class seafood restaurants, there are few seafood shacks on the island of Manhattan. Take a quick boat ride down to the Chesapeake Bay, over to Long Island, or maybe even down to the Jersey Shore, and you will find those spots where eating seafood is not necessarily treated as something uptight and elite. But, if you want to stay local, tucked away in the heart of Harlem lies Lolo’s Seafood Shack, a highly-acclaimed eatery that, interestingly enough, claims its menu’s primary influences are from both Cape Cod and the Caribbean.

Despite the fact the Manhattan Sideways team arrived at Lolo’s on a very rainy day, the atmosphere inside made us feel tropically alive, calling back to our perception of that boardwalk shack from the Nickelodeon’s 90s series, Rocket Power. With both indoor and outdoor seating year-round, Lolo’s can provide a momentary escape for any seafood-lover with an affinity for more peaceful, beachy settings.

Lolo’s fits into the culinary framework of Harlem in particular and of New York in general, as both are abundant with seafood restaurants. Its menu certainly fuses influence from New England and Caribbean seafood styles, but it also draws from Central American and the Southern US tastes. We were served smoked chicken wings and Belizean conch fritters, both of which were stimulating and delightful. Head chef Mohan and owner Leticia “Skai” Young have combined a unique beach-urban setting with a trend-setting style of culinary fusion, and for these reasons there is no wonder why this spot is so popular with locals and tourists alike. With daily happy hours, calm and easy vibes, and a litany of positive reviews, press releases, and awards, Lolo’s Seafood Shack will hopefully remain a go-to spot on 116th Street.

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More places on 116th Street

Lost Gem
Amy Ruth's 1 Brunch American Southern Harlem Morningside Heights

Amy Ruth's

My first encounter with Amy Ruth's, a Southern style restaurant in the finest tradition, was during my walk while documenting every place on 116th. The street is enormous, with many delis, convenience stores, hair salons and barber shops, but tucked between these are some marvelous hidden gems. Amy Ruth's is certainly one of them, although, "hidden" is debatable given that the restaurant usually has a line out the door. Once inside, I discovered that the space is endless. There are some smaller nooks, an upstairs area that is open on the weekends, and then a large catering hall for private events.The second time I visited Amy Ruth's, late on a Saturday morning, I brought my husband and friends, as I needed them to enjoy the same experience that I had had. I loved every aspect of this restaurant. From the star-shaped paper lanterns hanging on the ceiling to the murals portraying well known African American figures - including President Obama, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Serena and Venus Williams - to the variety of ages and cultures sitting at the tables, and, of course, to the excellent Southern cuisine, the restaurant offers a memorable dining spot for everyone.The opening of Amy Ruth's in 1998 was inspired by Carl Redding's time spent down south visiting his grandmother during the summer months. He chose to stand by her side day in and day out as she prepared meal after meal for her adoring family. Years later, he decided to pay tribute to this wonderful woman by opening up his own restaurant and naming it after his beloved grandmother.This warm family feeling is transmitted to guests as soon as they arrive. Waiting to enter, we began speaking with some of the patrons who were raving about the food. I learned that they queue up almost every weekend for the chicken and waffles - and every other waffle combination imaginable. Needless to say, our meal also consisted primarily of waffles, most of us opting for the variety of fruit toppings, and it was perfect.