I just read in the paper that one of my favorite soul food restaurants has closed it's doors after 50 years of business! Copeland's Restaurant is (was) a veritable institution in Harlem....after Sunday morning services...ALL the church kids went to either Copeland's or Wilson's (long closed) for an early dinner. Children let me tell you....I worked at Copeland's one summer while I was still in high school....lol...I was terrible in the kitchen...I kept sneaking and eating the barbecued ribs...(They were addictive!) And THE CHOPPED BARBECUE WITH JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF VINEGAR AND SOME COLE SLAW ON TOP!!!!! (To absolutely DIE for ya'll!!!) but by far Copeland's had the best whole wheat dinner rolls in town!!! My monster loves whole wheat bread and I tried to get them for him whenever I could get over there! I was very disheartened at this news....after all it was only about a month ago when I saw the "Closed by Order of the Health Department" notice slapped on the windows of my OTHER favorite soul food restaurant....M&G's on the corner of 125th & Morningside...although...I gotta tell you....one trip to the bathroom...lol...and you KNEW full well you were probably putting your life at risk if you ate there! But M&G's had some of the best damn fried chicken, smothered pork chops and potato salad that I have ever had in my life!!! I (along with MANY of my friends) have rolled up to M&G's after many a long night of partying for a good old country breakfast to sop up some of that liquor in my system...(this was back when they used to be open 24 hours a day!). If you got there after 4am...you were lucky if you got a seat!!!! Those old school country ladies knew how to throw down on some old fashioned soul food...AND the jukebox was always kicking!
And now I find out that my beloved Pier 2110 has also bit the dust! Pier 2110 was owned by the same people who run Manna's (The soul food salad bar...there's 3 of them on 125th street...sheessh...Love them ya'll but do we REALLY need that many Manna's on one strip???) I understand that she just couldn't keep it going...for those of you who never got the honor of checking out Pier 2110...it was absolutely fabulous!!! I love going to places that you have to "get dressed up" to attend...no one does this anymore! The place was beautifully decorated and they used to have live bands play there as well...AND A SUSHI BAR TO BOOT!!! YUMMY! My only problem with the actual restaurant was the er...food. My mom had her retirement luncheon there last December and the dessert they brought us (it was bread pudding..which is bad enough...I HATE BREAD PUDDING!! LOL) was...I kid you not...inedible. NOBODY in our party ate it! I hear they had to change chefs at least 3 times (and that's usually the kiss of death for a restaurant....anyone remember The Soul Cafe???..Same problem!). But I knew this restaurant was in trouble when they relaxed the dress code and folks started hanging out in sneakers and jeans....it's the same thing that happened at The Harlem Grill...(remember them?)it's never a good sign....
It seems that as the "color" of Harlem changes all of our traditions and institutions change right along with it and that makes me sad...it really does. When they are done "remaking" Harlem...Besides high priced co-ops & condos that none of us can afford to live in....What will be left???? I have lots of memories attached to these places and to walk past them and they are no longer there hurts my feelings...it really does.
One more thing:
I was over at the Roti Hut on 125th & 8th (The same block that Manna's & Kentucky Fried Chicken sits on) and I heard that someone bought ALL OF THE BUILDINGS ON THE BLOCK FOR A COOL 30 MIL.....That means Manna's & Bobby's Soul Shack..the record store that has shoes for the big girls on sale in the back of the store (or whatever it's called...lol) will all be a memory by next summer!
I have been in Harlem since I was a little girl, I love my "hood" and while I know that change is generally always for the good....I gotta wonder this time...WHO is it actually good for?
Just a thought peeps!
"Assumption and presumption are the same thing....Wrong!"