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Adding African Spice to Soul Food in Harlem

Grits, fried chicken, and collard greens are some of the popular dishes soul food lovers crave. Two restaurants in Harlem are putting a North African spin on these favorites.

Mojo,  on the corner of Saint Nicholas and 119th Street, is the inspiration of Mounir Jabrane, a native of Morocco. Jabrane, who opened the restaurant last year, said he’s always been fascinated by Harlem’s rich African-American culture and wanted to add the zing of his own homeland to soul food.

Just two avenues east of Mojo, Red Rooster Harlem is also working on its own soul food fusion.  Former “Top Chef” winner Marcus Samuelsson will be the executive chef of the new restaurant, scheduled to open by the new year. He hopes his Ethiopian roots and cooking will be a welcome addition to the community.

“We wanted to sort of be roots and be authentic,” said Derek Fleming, one of Red Rooster Harlem’s partners. “Let’s give people that understanding that we get what it used to be and we’re going to do our best to bring that to the current climate.”

By Melissa Rose Cooper | December 16th, 2010 |

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