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HARLEM, Manhattan — The aroma inside Renaissance Harlem could be best described as intoxicating. And if you ask the patrons about the vibe, it’s on point.

The restaurant along Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard has become a mainstay in the neighborhood since it opened in 2016 — where African and French flavors are blended to create a unique menu you can only find in Harlem.

At the helm of the creole, fine dining experience are executive chefs Cissie Elhadji and Cheikh Ali.

Both are ready to leave behind the struggles of 2020, which left their Harlem restaurant empty for a good part of the year.

“Anytime I walked into the restaurant and saw the table up and the chair on it, all I thought was ‘Oh my god…I cannot believe this,’” Elhadji told PIX11.

Harlem Renaissance is just one of many restaurants being featured In this weekend’s annual Creole Food Festival taking place — where else — in Harlem. 

The festival, now in its third year, makes its triumphant return after it was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The two-day culinary experience will showcase top creole chefs of color from around the world, serving up savory dishes from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and the Southern United States.

“Black and brown chefs have to work about five times as hard to gain the notoriety of their white counterparts, so we wanted to create this platform so they could showcase their talent and creativity,” Fabrice J. Armand, co-founder of the Creole Food Festival, said. 

The festival happens at a time when small businesses need the exposure the most. 

Amid the ongoing health crisis, Festival organizers will be implementing safety measures including asking guests to provide proof of a negative COVID test or vaccination card. 

It’s all designed to keep attendees at ease for a celebration of culture.

“It’s basically celebrating what unites us and we’re celebrating what unites us through food,” Armand said.

The Creole Food Festival kicks off this Saturday, August 7 at Skinny’s Cantina on the Hudson
701 West 133rd Street
Harlem, N.Y. 
For ticket information visit:
Follow them on IG: @CreoleFoodFest