New York is home to the largest, most diverse population of African descendants in America. Nigerian-born Wall Street consultant Akin Akinsanya’s vision to celebrate this community seems both essential and long overdue. “A love for the food and culture inspired me to put together New York African Restaurant Week,” Akinsaya explains. “I also felt our chefs and restaurants needed to be highlighted and celebrated.”
The second annual New York African Restaurant Week (NYARW) allows Africans and the culturally curious foodies of Gotham to experience a taste of the continent with edibles and entertainment offerings at the New York City’s best African eateries. From April 27 to May 4, Senegalese, Ethiopian, Nigerian, South African cuisines and more have all been specially discounted. With 17 participating restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn, this celebration of food and culture provides ample opportunity to enjoy some of the diaspora’s most delectable dishes.
This year’s NYARW event kicked off at The Edible Bazaar Benefit, with awards presented to various African artists, chefs, movers and shakers. They all came together at the garment district’s Suite 36 to network, dance, and enjoy local caterers’ and restaurants’ signature dishes. Guests piled plates high with tasty treats and left little for cleanup.
Among the tastemakers in the room, Brooklyn City Council Member Laurie Cumbo was passionate about her plate and NYARW. “Nothing makes me happier than to see people’s dreams come true, and African Restaurant Week represents dozens of business owners from the African Diaspora who are living their dream every single day,” Cumbo says. “I also love the social conscious mission to bring greater awareness to issues that impact people of the African Diaspora.” Beyond the gift of good eating, NYARW shares proceeds from The Edible Bazaar Benefit with Keep a Child Alive and Alliance of Hope for Lupus.
New Yorkers have until May 4 to join in the food festivities. Participating venues provide three-course, prix fixe menus for $28.95 or 10% off all menu items. Details for all participating restaurants and events can be found at NYARW.com, and tickets can be purchase at BeUevents.com. Should you miss out this week, have no fear: New York African Restaurant Week will be back in October.