Attention all food and culture lovers: Harlem EatUp! has begun, and the lineup is majorly drool-worthy.
Since 2015, the EatUp! festival has celebrated the spirit of Harlem in all its culinary and cultural glory. With sit-down dinners at local restaurants, an outdoor marketplace for Harlem chefs and artists, and plenty of music and dancing, the festival has shown people around the world that Harlem is a must-see destination.
This year's event kicked off Monday, May 13 and runs through Sunday, May 19. During the week, guests can attend Dine In Harlem Series dinners at renowned restaurants in Harlem with menus crafted specifically for the event. On the weekend, the festival turns in a huge outdoor party for the Harlem Stroll, which features food and drinks from dozens of restaurants and a main stage for musicians, chef demonstrations, and more.
“I’m really excited about Harlem EatUp! this year because having this vision of ours turn five years old is huge and so meaningful for us and for the community," says Marcus Samuellson, festival co-founder and chef at the renowned Red Rooster Harlem. "It’s incredible to see that the third week in May, over 11,000 people come to Harlem to eat and cook and celebrate together, to see Harlem become the culinary capital of the city and the host of the coolest dinners out there.”
A culinary capital it is, indeed. Among the 20-plus restaurants participating in the festival are Harlem Tavern, Charles Pan Fried Chicken, Lee Lee's Bakery, Melba's, and many more. Plus, the festival will feature culinary talent such as Neil Patrick Harris, Gail Simmons, and Amanda Freitag.
There's a lot planned, but you can expect some surprises along the way, too. “For our fifth year, we are excited to amp up our celebration of Harlem—the community, the food, the drink, music, and culture," says festival co-frounder Herb Karlitz. "We’ll be bringing back our signature events, along with a few surprises we can’t wait to share with our guests.”
There's one thing you can count on at the grand tasting, though, according to the website: "A raucous spontaneous dance party! It's your gift with purchase."
Sold on taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Harlem this week? Check out the event schedule for times and tickets. Dine In series dinners cost $85 to $200. Entry to the Marketplace at the Harlem Stroll is free for those wishing to pick food and drink samples as they go. If you want the full Harlem Stroll experience, you can purchase Ultimate Grand Tasting tickets for $85, which gets you tastings from the more than 20 vendors at the event.
Net proceeds from the festival support nonprofit organizations in Harlem, including Citymeals on Wheels, Harlem Park to Park, the Harlem EatUp! Foundation, and Historic Harlem Parks.