Monday, December 9, 2013

☞ BESPOKE: Best Harlem Shop Facade 2013

The most admirable thing about the opening of The Cecil at 118th Street and St. Nicholas is that the actual restoration of the old storefront did take place.  All of the old cast iron details have been refinished with a glossy coat of red paint, the neon sign repaired and the entire endeavor lights up this quiet corner of South Harlem on any given night.  New graphics on the awnings also give a nod to the old neon sign and provides just the right balance of old and new to restaurant's overall outer appearance.  The only miss that we see here is the scrim printed with the old photo of a Great Day in Harlem in the bar area.  All of the renovations on the exterior already talks about the legacy of the place visually and having the old image up seems like an afterthought that is trying a little too hard to give the space more history credentials.


  1. I too love the exterior of Cecil's but in my opinion it falls apart a bit once you get inside. The decor is a little bizzare and not particularily inviting (metal grate curtains?), and the menu is overly ambitious and I would argue trying too hard. They would do well to par back the number of offerings and focus on quality and better service. Minton's decor is much better - love the palettle - but I think they would do well to make this a late night spot (9-2) and just offer small plates. Band also needs to engage with audience a little more and come off stage, maybe add a vocalist. Both places are drawing some crowds but are hardly packed and of course it's early still - I'm not sure they are getting locals and they will need that over long term. I hope somebody from Cecil's / Minton's is reading this because I do want these places to succeed.

  2. Minton's wont get locals at what they are charging, nor many others either. Also the jacket policy is absurd. And why did they remove the original signage?

  3. Hoping for their success but I agree it would be nice for locals to be welcome as regulars. At $150 bucks per person, it does not seem likely. And watching them take down the original sign was heartbreaking.