As the Times' Caren Chesler points out in the Business section today, Harlem is thriving in terms of residential development, but starving for some decent eats. Zagat's 2006 guide has 119 listings for the East Village, and 18 for Harlem (including Papaya King and Starbucks). So what gives? The usual reasons for the lack of an exploding grub scene are given?such as no tourism and few high-density office buildings and such?but there's also an explanation that we never thought of before: God. State law prohibits restaurants from serving the drink within 200 feet of a house of worship, and we all know how church-heavy Harlem is, and how much restaurants rely on booze profits. An interesting read on neighborhood minutia, if you're into that sort of thing.
· Harlem Is Rising, but Where to Eat? [Curbed]
· Are Churches Holding Harlem Back? [Harlem Fur]