The Citiblog

Chef Tami Talks to Cititour About Taking Harlem Seafood Soul to the Next Level
December 18, 2023, 7:26.02 pm ET


Photo: Anneliese Horowitz

Harlem Seafood Soul, known for its signature Shrimp & Grits, Po Boy Sandwiches, Homemade Fried Mac & Cheese Bites, is calling Dekalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn home these days. But Chef Tami’s heart is still in Harlem. We had a chance to speak to her about this newest venture, her plans for the future and her recipe for success.

CITITOUR: What can people expect when they dine at Harlem Seafood Soul?

CHEF TAMI: "A great feel good experience."

CITITOUR: What are your favorite dishes? Are most of the recipes your own, or have they been passed down from family members.

CHEF TAMI: "I have carefully curated an entire menu of my favorite dishes of the recipes and techniques that were handed down to me and that I have developed over the years."

CITITOUR: You are a native New Yorker, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your upbringing and how you became a chef?

CHEF TAMI: "I was born in Harlem Hospital and raised in Harlem, I have had the amazing opportunity to travel around the world, yet Harlem is my home, my village, a strong community of people that helped to raise me during a time when every mother on "the Block" was your auntie and had permission to keep you in line. if you know what I mean. I am grateful that the strong moral principles that were instilled in me directly affect the way I do business today. I was taught "If you do it, make sure that you do it Right!. "Be the Best at Whatever it is that you do." I can hear my grandmother saying" make sure those grits are creamy" and I try my best to make her proud each day with the offerings on our menu."

CITITOUR: It’s quite an accomplishment to own your own business. Can you tell us about your new location at DeKalb Market Hall in Brooklyn. Do you miss Harlem?

CHEF TAMI: "When I started Harlem Seafood Soul I just really wanted to share our great food and remind people of a time when folks cared about what they served and we were able to secure a Eco Friendly mobile kitchen to do so in. We had no idea that our concept would take off the way it did. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, determination and at times it took everything I had in me to "keep going." The Pandemic wasn't all bad, having the time to solidify our business plan and foundation. So, when we were approached by the Local Culture management of the DMH to bring our concept, I did not hesitate because we were prepared. Having a kiosk in the DMH located in the heart of downtown Bklyn gives us the opportunity to reconnect with the folks in Bklyn that we had served over the years in our mobile kitchen and connect with others. Our mobile kitchen now "Temporarily Closed" will continue to operate in Harlem on the NE corner of W. 125th in the Spring of 2024. I absolutely miss my corner and the people and they've let me know they miss me, Harlem, I am not going anywhere. I'll be back soon."

CITITOUR: Do you have plans to open other locations of Harlem Seafood Soul in New York City and beyond? What can we expect in 2024?

CHEF TAMI: "Spring 2024 we will be launching our brand new state-of-the-art mobile kitchen Harlem. It has always been the goal of Harlem Seafood Soul to reach the people from multiple locations and we're working on it. Stay tuned!"

We'd like to thank Chef Tami for taking the time to speak with us and wish her, and her team, much success in the future.

Harlem Seafood Soul is located inside the Dekalb Market Hall at 445 Albee Square W, Brooklyn, NY. For more information, visit