Uptown Saturday Night at Applebee’s

Saturday night was filled with good times and good people. The ain’t no party like a Harlem nights party!  The new Applebee’s located on 125th Street was filled to capacity as Harlemites came out in full force to welcome it to the neighborhood. For a $10 donation (that will be reinvested into the community) guests were treated to massive buffets, trays of appetizers, drinks of their choice and great music. The restaurant is decorated with pictures of prominent places and people significant to Harlem and will serve items from local businesses, like Make My Cake. They will also feature a few Harlem specific dishes that are exclusive to the Harlem restaurant.

Applebee’s will officially open to the public tomorrow morning at 11:00 A.M.

1 West 125th Street @ 5th Avenue


15 thoughts on “Uptown Saturday Night at Applebee’s

  1. Gwin, it will take a lot more than chain restaurants and stores to kill the classic flavor of Harlem. Unaffordable rents and runaway gentrification pose more of a threat in that department. So many posters on these sites refer to Harlem residents, who have kept the spirit of this place alive for generations, as if they are mindless sheep who go wherever and do whatever and eat whatever corporate giants decide. Did it occur to you that Harlemites eat at Applebee’s anyway, just at a less convenient location? I’ve been to the new Applebee’s, and it seems to me that they are a source of employment and choice of cuisine. They also at least try to show some cultural awareness in the decor of the restaurant. Going there is not going to keep me from Jacob’s, a less-expensive, more traditional soul food buffet. Both offer healthy choices as well as unhealthy ones.

  2. Hi valgb. Yes, I’ve been to several of the places on FDB. In fact, Zoma is a favorite of mine! And Ottomanelli on 5th and 112th is pretty good too. That’s what I mean when I wrote in my post that the eating options are getting better here…and it’s heartening to see.

    I agree with you that Harlem–like this glorious city we live in in general–can accommodate all types of restaurants. Now, if you–or anyone–can recommend some tasty, clean Chinese or Asian restaurants in Harlem, I’m all ears! (Ginger was a hot mess. Not surprised that it closed.)

  3. How can Harlem retain a “classic flavor” when corporate giants like Applebee’s do nothing but help homogenize the neighborhood??

    Enough said.

  4. Linda, have you checked out any of the new, reasonably-priced restaurants on Frederick Douglass Blvd.? they feature diverse, healthy cuisines and do not feature fried food over grilled, etc.

    Now.. for you cynical, biased, misinformed ranters who show up on this and other Harlem-oriented websites, why do you bother with Harlem, a place for which you lack any semblance of understanding, empathy or respect? Why not just get the out of this dirty, impoverished, welfare and crime-ridden hellhole if that’s how you feel? I could live most anywhere in Manhattan, and I love this warm, spiritual, culturally vibrant uptown village. God bless Harlem for retaining its classic FLAVOR while evolving to accommodate an onslaught of spoiled yuppies who don’t know what’s good, anyway. I’m all for Applebees, Trader Joe’s AND Mama’s Fried Chicken. What’s really not good for the neighborhood is YOU PEOPLE AND ALL YOUR B.S.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with the first Anonymous that it’s wrong to think Applebees is going to be the DECLINE OF HARLEMITES’ HEALTH as we know it. I live across from a fish market that also does takeout fried food. This market is next to an organic health food store. Guess which store has a line of people waiting for their food on a regular basis? Hint: not the organic health food store!

    The dining options are so bad in Harlem (though getting better) that I welcome an Applebees just to get away from all the Popeyes, Mama Fried Chicken or what-not, bodegas, etc. It’s nice to see all the cafes opening up, but sometimes you want something more filling for dinner, and it’s a shame that I have to order delivery from my old nabe (near Columbia U.) just to have some variety in my food (i.e., not fried!).

    I’d love to give my hard-earned money to Harlem, and I do in other respects. But when it comes to food, Harlem is a hard sell.

    And I would love to have a Trader Joe’s in Harlem as well.

  6. Still jobless. That Applebees is fully staffed. Where are the job opportunities here in Harlem?!? Finally heading out to the new Bronx Gateway mall today. It’s the Holidays, I hope I get lucky.
    I’m NOT a shopaholic but, these jobs make a big difference in my community.
    I’d rather be the one creating the jobs myself, it would be then, just a matter of educating myself to do that.
    Black people especially should do that. Waiting for the city to come around every few years to build businesses for ‘other’ people to make money isn’t putting anything back in our communities in a major way. The few who work there (a few hundred maybe) get that little paycheck and for those who miss out (like myself) should have ‘applied’. Nevertheless… you are fully staffed.

    If anyone who knows some one who has a friend that can ‘hook me up’ email me! Job hunting in this economy is depressing.

    Young people like myself are competing for low wage jobs with people that have PHD’s!! I’m very curious as to what will become of this economy in say… the next 10 years. In reality: there ARE jobs out there; there IS money to be made / positive thinking.

  7. Would folks PLEASE get off this “Applebee’s is poisoning the neighborhood” kick?

    Every summer there is a farmers market in the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Bldg. One block west of Applebee’s is Watkins’ Health Food and a Vegetarian joint I don’t remember the name of. Strictly Roots, the other Vegetarian joint is two blocks away from there. If anybody wants healthy food in that area they can get it.

    Somebody also needs to explain to Anon the concept of “working poor”. Even if you have little means it does not necessarily follow that you will have Health Insurance. It is possible to not be poor enough to get health care.

    Look, those 200 jobs in the neighborhood are 200 jobs that weren’t there last week. That’s a cause for celebration, not embittered sniping about poisoning the neighborhood or folks poor investment choices or who has insurance or not.

    You need BOTH your Island Salad’s and your Applebee’s to have a thriving neighborhood. Local and corporate involvement: the best of both worlds. That is nothing to complain about.

  8. Anon, you are sadly misinformed, black home ownership in Harlem is an enormous lost opportunity driven by bad choices. What you fail to mention there where programs to encourage ownership that walked people through the process, but there where not many takers. The homes in Harlem where on sale for pennies on the dollar, but many made the choice not to buy these homes but to use them as a public toilet or a place for doing drugs or worse. There was redlining in Harlem but many did buy and are reaping the rewards now. People make choices, the easy short term choice is to go to Applebee’s and buy a fat laden meal. The good long term choice is to resist temptation and when in Applebee’s buy a salad. People still make bad choices today, they commit crimes, go to jail, teenagers have babies when the father will and does abandon his responsibilities, also they do not follow through on their education, and worst of all, when it all goes wrong, blame someone else for their bad choices. You reinforce the destructive behavior of bad choice > failure > blame.

  9. Ms. J, you’re sadly uninformed of the facts & effects of “redlining” & “warehousing” in Harlem for over 50 years +. It’s flat out inaccurate to say,”… the former folks that had their chance….” Not at all true in all too many instances. Beyond not having equal access to the capital markets, lots of “cash in hand” would-be Black buyers were turned down even when meeting the asking price on lots of properties in Harlem. To this day there are HUNDREDS of coop buildings in Manhattan that have boards that would turn down a cash in hand Black buyer, despite income, credentials, and financial security. Your words suggest it’s been a level or even playing field since the arrival of Blacks in Harlem, and it has not been. Lastly, with Black male unemployment exceeding 55% in Harlem, I am willing to be the majority of citizens, at least 51% do not have their own health insurance through an employer or privately, and it’s basically the tax payer that pays for their healthcare.

    Now Applebee’s is going to be a “net loss” on the health of the community. Applebee’s will damage health of Harlemites, just as McDonald’s and all the fast food places do. Now this is very on topic with the Health Care debate in Washington D.C. , and you see Gov. Paterson tried to tax Soda, Sugar based drinks, correct? I just wish private business was forced to “pay the freight” of their business. Cigarette companies are taxed excessively to cover the medical cost of their damage to society down the line. Well when you walk into Applebee’s on 125th & 5th and order their Quesadilla Burger, a bacon cheeseburger stuffed into flour tortillas with two types of cheese and a ranch style sauce with fries it has 1,820 calories, 46 grams of saturated fat and 4,410 milligrams of sodium (nearly TWICE the recommended daily limit and lord knows Black folks have a problem with Salt, am I wrong?) Time Magazine rated this dish in their top 10 worse meals possible to buy. Anyway this one dish is a Heart Attack in the waiting. I say consuming this Applebee’s dish is more damaging and more costly on citizens than a pack cigarettes. This Applebee’s meal should be taxed about $300 or so dollars to pay for the back end effects. What makes our society crazy is we will allow Applebee’s to sell this one dish, to people with no health insurance, and when they need a triple by pass or whatever, they will go to the ER at Harlem Hospital and you and I will pay for it. We’re in the business of subsidizing Applebee’s and their right to destroy health. Like Tobacco and Alcohol, when you’re in the business of selling FAT, you should be taxed heavily. Meanwhile Island Salad should receive tax credits!

  10. How and when was this promoted for the grand opening that for a $10 donation people enjoyed meals and music like this? And is this just a one time event or will it happen again? I think its a great idea for Harlem. I disagree that most of Harlem gets Free medical care that’s a stereotype and those shoes don’t fit everyones feet. I agree that it does offer something that’s commercially known for Harlemites and tourist alike to frequent now. It’s no sense in getting mad because we see harlems old school spots fading by the month. They did have their day and didn’t make wise choices to buy their property back in the day. So whether its the Koreans, Italians and the Jews that are taking over the property and going commercial in bigger ways. Who’s to blame the former folks that had their chance but never planned for changes in the future. All the best to Applebee’s I can’t wait to check it out.

  11. Well Anonymous, that’s probably the most cynical thing I’ve ever read on here, so congratulations for that, I guess.

  12. Gwin, I disagree. Applebee’s is a better idea for 125th Street by far. Let’s face it, 125th street can use corporate enfranchisement into mainstream America. “Bobby’s House of Music” and these other local owned businesses on 125th St. do diddlysquat for legitimizing 125th St on a commercial level…to the larger picture and sector of Manhattan. “Island Salad” means little to few. Applebee’s? We see several commercials on TV weekly! Lots of people are familiar with Applebee’s, familiarity = comfort. Every day thousands travel to and from JFK and LGA straight up 125th St….and those people will now see there’s a reason to perhaps stop and have a bite to eat at a place that’s familiar, just like at their home in Kansas City or Orlando. No offense to this website but it’s not about “flavor”. Flavor died in Harlem 15 years ago. It’s about “cultural homogenization” in 2010 going forward for Harlem. There will always be room for a few token spots for the tourist (Sylivia’s, The Cotton Club, the Sunday Church Tours, etc.) but for mainstream day in day out living in Harlem going forward? “Cultural Homogenization” is the new Black (pardon the pun). Yes the dollars flee straight out of the community from dollars spent at Old Navy, Starbucks, Applebees, Staples, HMV, iHop, etc. but so what? I was here for the good old bad years, the years when you had no options, stores, nothing, one freaking bank on 125th St! I wish more chains landed in Harlem, I would love to spend money at a Trader Joe’s in Harlem. Oh, do you complain about the health concerns about Applebee’s food? Give me a break, it’s not like Harlem is health central USA, these people and kids are not going to Island Freaking Salad, they are going across the street and getting that FRIED fish at that fish joint where they LINE UP. In the aggregate Harlemites don’t give a damn about their health, and heck, most have free health insurance that my tax dollars pay for…..they have no worries. Harlemites are not worried about that Triply Bypass Surgery to open their arteries, the tax payer will pay for that! If you needed to show proof of health insurance to buy a Whopper, BigMac, or Fried Food in Harlem? 90% of the food joints would be out of business in a week! I say bring on the chains, the Applebee’s, let’s have an Olive Garden next door!, a Red Lobster across the street, let’s rally for the Homogenization of Harlem to the fullest! Look, if you’re going to be real, and honest, most Harlemites that have a bank account DO NOT bank local at Carver, they Bank at a major chain. Odds are anyone arguing to spend money at a local joint over a chain probably banks at a chain and not a local bank, so they really should shut up! Thank You. There is no difference in businesses you serve…..if you bank at Chase, Citibank, etc. you are banking at a major chain and not a local bank. You should not feel bad about that, and you should not feel bad about spending your dollars on the poor quality food at MickeyD’s or Applebee’s or Dunkin Donuts!

  13. 200 new jobs for Harlem. Not bad. You have choices when you are dining out. I will always go to Dinosaur BBQ omg! yummy!! Hey the DJ was killing it! He was playing some old school Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson’s throughout the night. Harlemites was feeling it. Then when he dropped James Brown “I feel Good” the place went bananas!

  14. Island Salad is a MUCH better idea for 125th Street… Applebee’s is just another outlet for calorie-packed garbage! I’m sure people are literally eating it up, but I’d rather see local businesses succeed than a corporate monster like this place.

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