By Debra Liu
What better way to launch the second annual New York African Restaurant Week (NYARW) than with delicious African food, drinks, and dancing in a festively decorated African palace? The Edible Bazaar Benefit will take place next Tuesday, April 29th at Suite 36 and will surely be an amazing night filled with great people and scrumptious tastings from African restaurants and caterers.
NYARW was founded by Akin Akinsanya, who used to work in finance on Wall Street and about a decade ago, began his foray into the NYC food world by creating the Taste of Africa event series. Having been born in Nigeria, Akin has always been incredibly proud of his African roots and wanted to create an after-work event to “bring people together, people from different parts of Africa to network, to have a good time.”
The NY African Restaurant Week was born out of these Taste of Africa events. “Over the years, we developed a relationship with all the food vendors, the restaurants, the chefs and from there, came New York African Restaurant Week,” Akin says. There were so many wonderful African restaurants in the city serving delicious food, but Akin noticed they weren’t being spotlighted. “Someone needs to tell their story and that’s what we chose to do.”
This year, the week-long celebration of African cuisine and culture, will run from April 27th through May 4th, and will feature 16 restaurants including Buka, Accra, and Madiba Restaurant in Brooklyn, which is one of Akin’s favorites. During this week, diners will get 10% off when they mention “African Restaurant Week”. Lunch and dinner options will start at $16.94 and $28.95 per person respectively at participating restaurants. To see all the restaurants, click here.
The Edible Bazaar Benefit, which is the official kick-off event for NYARW, will be hosted by Yolanda Sangweni, entertainment editor of ESSENCE, and co-founder of AfriPOP! online magazine and will feature honorees including Mohammed Abdullah (Owner of Accra), Chef Pierre Thiam, Mark and Jenny Henegan (Owners of Madiba Restaurant), and others.
Additionally, a portion of the sales from The Edible Bazaar Benefit will be donated to Keep a Child Alive and the Alliance of Hope for Lupus. According to Akin, giving back to the community is really important. He says, “Anytime we do an event, we always want to shine a light on organizations that are doing something great, especially in Africa.”
With African Restaurant Week and the Edible Bazaar Benefit, Akin hopes to bring the community together, promote diversity and entrepreneurship in the restaurant space, and hopefully help expose people to delicious African cuisine that they may or may not have had before.
Don’t miss out on a unique opportunity to sample food from some of NYC’s finest African restaurants as well as meet (and possibly, dance with) the talented chefs behind the delicious foods. “If you want to get to know Africa without stepping off the shore with your passport, then this is the place to be,” says Akin. Check out the event page. DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com