Two new restaurants are opening in Harlem. Richard Parsons (former CEO of Time Warner) and his wife Laura announce the opening of two new restaurants in Harlem, MINTON'S and THE CECIL. MINTON'S, the restoration of the famed 1930's/1940's jazz club Minton's Playhouse, will reside in the original location uptown but has been redesigned as a contemporary jazz supper club. Next-door sister restaurant THE CECIL, an Afro-Asian-American brasserie, will integrate the culinary traditions of the African Diaspora with traditional Asian and American cuisines. The Parsons have appointed their long-time friend and well known restaurateur Alexander Smalls as Executive Chef of both MINTON'S and THE CECIL. Smalls, formerly the chef/owner of the critically acclaimed Cafe Beulah, has brought to bear his years of experience and unique sensibilities to create two new and very different restaurants each of which will offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience for guests. THE CECIL will open to the public on September 23rd and MINTON'S is scheduled to open its doors in mid-October.
When the original Minton’s Playhouse opened in 1938 the club quickly pioneered a movement in modern jazz, as legends including Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie took the stage and joined in regular jam sessions. Starting this October, MINTON'S will reopen its doors as a newly designed contemporary supper club with a dining experience enhanced by nightly live jazz performances from the house band chosen by music director Danny Mixon. Smalls is working with Chef de Cuisine Banks White, formerly of FIVE in Berkley, CA, to prepare a menu which Smalls’ calls his Southern Revival Cooking with Low Country Notes. Pastry Chef Jenny Lee joins the team from New York's Michelin starred Junoon. The 70 seat elegantly appointed space creates an intimate ambiance and experience for diners. Guests can enjoy a pre-fixed Southern inspired menu for dinner six nights a week and an early supper service on Sunday afternoons. Late night service will soon be available on weekends with a special musical tribute to the Bebop era, Minton’s at Midnight.
Smalls will continue to display his talents next door at THE CECIL, an Afro-Asian-American Brasserie. With Chef de Cuisine Joseph Johnson as Smalls' right hand, the menu incorporates a study of international flavors bringing life to the palates of guests by balancing the new with the familiar. With 140 seats guests will enjoy traditional comfort food of the African Diaspora, complimented by upbeat progressive music for a social dining experience. Jenny Lee will also serve as Pastry Chef of THE CECIL.
“As an avid jazz lover for years, it has always been a dream of mine to open a supper club where guests can enjoy the sounds of great musicians while dining on great food in elegant surroundings,” said Parsons, who is also Chairman of the Jazz Foundation of America. “The culture and atmosphere that once defined Harlem’s night scene and made it a destination, has waned through the years but Harlem is experiencing a renaissance and our hope is that these two restaurants will help solidify and propel this rebirth."
“I pride myself on creating dishes that introduce guests to unique foods, while maintaining a level of comfort,” said Smalls, Executive Chef of Minton’s & The Cecil. “My hope is that every diner feels a sense of satisfaction, excitement and adventure when walking both in and out of Minton's & The Cecil.”
Well appointed bars in both MINTON’S & THE CECIL will serve an array of international wines, spirits and one-of-a-kind cocktails created exclusively for each restaurant.
Leading the design efforts behind both restaurants is designer and architect Sarah Garcia. Garcia has an extensive roster of projects based mainly in the Caribbean, where she has designed and built some of the regions most luxurious hotels and private villas, including the stunning Casa Colonial Beach Resort and Spa in the Dominican Republic. This is Garcia's first U.S.-based project. Ably assisting on the project was New York architect Tonja Adair. Adair has more than 16 years of architecture and design project leadership, including large commercial retail projects in Dubai, Santiago, Chile, and New Orleans.
Beatrice Stein, a veteran restaurant executive of more than twenty-five years, heads up the management staff as Director of Operations.
MINTON'S will reside at 206 West 118th Street and will be open for dinner six days a week 5PM until 12 AM, with three pre-set seating's each night, and an additional late night seating on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday supper will be served family style between 12 PM and 4 PM. Reservations are required. Men are required to wear jackets. For more information you can call 212-243-2222 or visit the website at www.MintonsHarlem.com.
THE CECIL will reside at 210 West 118th Street and will be open for lunch service from 11AM to 5PM Monday through Friday, and 10AM to 5PM Saturday and Sunday. Hours of operation for THE CECIL continue until 12AM Monday through Thursday, Friday and Saturday 1AM and until 10PM Sunday. Reservations are not required, but suggested. For more information you can call 212-866-1262 or visit the website at www.TheCecilHarlem.com.