EAST FLATBUSH – East Flatbush Restaurant Week is in full swing. Organized by the Community Board 17 Commerce Committee, HABNET (Haitian American Chamber of Commerce), Elite Learners, Inc., and The Breakfast Clutch, the week started on June 24th with their annual kick-off party called the “Sumptuous Sampler” held every year at Tropical Paradise Ballroom. This free event featured samplings of signature dishes from participating restaurants, a raffle (which included a box of Jamaican beef patties), and music. The week itself—from June 25th to July 7th—features over 20 businesses, according to the Committee’s Facebook page.
Commerce Committee Chairperson Hassan Bakiriddin said that this year the event includes a whole new way to give back to the community.
“We’ve partnered with an organization called Elite Learners, Inc. and they have a culinary arts program for young people. The young people come out and they present their signature dishes to the community, which I think is fantastic,” said Bakiriddin.
“Also we’ve worked with some of the business owners who are there, some of the restaurants,” Bakiriddan continued, noting that many of the owners mentioned they would like to hire more young people. “Of course we put them together with that group and they were able to hire these young people for the summer.” Among the restaurants that hired students from Elite Learners, Inc. are Footprints, Tropical Paradise, and Suede.
East Flatbush Restaurant Week, now in its sixth year, has grown substantially since it began.
“When we started we had almost 200 people the first year, and now the last one we had the other day was probably 473 [people], so it’s a very heavily attended event, which is good, so [we’re] pretty proud of it,” Bakiriddin said. “It was born out of our small business community sort of complaining because out of the winter months—winter was so heavy, it was terrible—people weren’t coming out. So, what we wanted to do, to be able to support them, was to have this event to re-introduce them to the community.”
The Commerce Committee has a subcommittee that reaches out to local businesses, asking them if they are interested in participating. Bakiriddin says that the “Sumptuous Sampler” event also leads to an increased participation, as business owners come to eat and end up wanting to be included in next year’s event. This year, they gained seven new participants from the night.
Bakiriddin says that he has several goals based on the event’s takeaways.
“One, to know that you have quality cuisine in East Flatbush, to know that you don’t have to go out of your community to get fine dining. Just to continue to support good businesses and also to be able to say that these same businesses that you’re supporting [are continuing] to hire young people in your organization,” he said, adding that he also, of course, hopes for the participating businesses to gain an increased revenue.
The event aims to benefit businesses just as much as community members.
“We are working with Small Business Solutions, they provide a lot of services for business owners as well, so we’ve been connecting them [with the businesses]. If they wanted to learn how to negotiate their lease, or write a business plan, or whatever the case may be, we’ve connected them in order to do that as well so there’s a benefit on both sides,” Bakiriddin says.
They also hold a business networking breakfast in March.
“The purpose of that is to bring small business owners and the agencies that regulate those businesses in one room so that they can talk about those regulations, possibly offer suggestions about how to change that legislation, or regulations, and we also invite elected officials in too,” Bakiriddin says. The next date for this event will be around March 25, 2020.
Any business can participate in East Flatbush Restaurant Week, no matter the cuisine.
“I think this is where year six versus year one differs,” Bakiriddin says. “When we came out initially, the restaurants who were very interested in participating [were] primarily on the Caribbean side, Caribbean-American, which is great and that’s fine, but we always wanted to diversify that. There are other restaurants in the community.”
All of the restaurants have different specials and deals for the week, but you can find them in the list below or look for the East Flatbush Restaurant Week decal on the storefronts of participating eateries.
Boston Jerk City Restaurant 1344 Utica Avenue, between Foster Avenue and Farragut Road
Brooklyn Jazz + Sports Club 3523 Church Avenue, between Brooklyn Avenue and E. 35th Street
Caribbean Social 847 Flatbush Avenue, between Linden Boulevard and Martense Street
Fisherman’s Cove 2137 Nostrand Avenue, between Avenue H and Glenwood Road
Footprints Cafe 5814 Clarendon Road, between East 58th and East 59 Streets
Footprints Cafe Express 1377 Flatbush Avenue, between Flatbush Avenue and East 26th Street
Footprints Cafe 1521 Surf Avenue, between West 15th Street and West 16th Street
The Hills Restaurant 4706 Church Avenue, between East 48th Street and Schenectady Avenue
HQ Lounge 1609 Nostrand Avenue, between Tilden Avenue and Beverly Road
Kombit Bar and Restaurant 279 Flatbush Avenue, between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place
Kreyol Flavor 8221 Flatlands Avenue, between East 83rd and East 82nd Streets
MangoSeed 757 Flatbush Avenue, between Clarkson Avenue and Lenox Road
News Feed Café 1507 Nostrand Avenue, between Snyder Avenue and Erasmus Street
Round 2 Café 1165 Utica Avenue, between Clarendon Road and Avenue D
Sue’s Kitchen Catering 11 Euclid Avenue, off Jamaica Avenue, (646) 721-1793
Suede Modern Caribbean Restaurant 5610 Clarendon Road, between East 56th and East 57th streets
Trini Breakfast Shed 3209 Church Avenue, between Raleigh Place and New York Avenue
Tropical Paradise Ballroom 1367 Utica Avenue, between Foster Avenue and Farragut Road
Tropical Paradise Restaurant 888 Utica Avenue, between Church and Snyder Avenues
Yolie’s Caribbean Restaurant 5722 Clarendon Road, between East 57th and East 58th Streets