Pioneering Restaurant Society Coffee to Close

By Jeff Mays on October 7, 2011 5:26pm 

Red velvet waffles from Society Coffee in Harlem.
Red velvet waffles from Society Coffee in Harlem.
View Full Caption
Facebook/Society Coffee

HARLEM—Society Coffee, one of the pioneers of the restaurant boom on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, is closing its doors after seven years on Monday.

In a note to fans on the cafe's Facebook page, owner Karl Franz Williams did not list a reason for the closure but said he was proud of his establishment's role in helping to revive the stretch.

"A pioneer on Frederick Douglass Blvd, Society has been a true labor of love and a place I've called home," Williams wrote.

"Over the years I have shared Society with thousands; I've watched people meet each other and fall in love, I've watched college students work, friends hang out, and poets write. I've met so many great people who have changed and elevated my life," he added.

The blog HarlemGal posted the news this afternoon.

Williams, who also owns cocktail lounge 67 Orange, could not be reached for comment Friday. He said 67 Orange will continue to operate.

Society Coffee has "served its purpose and has set neighborhood standards for a new generation in historic Harlem," Williams wrote.

The cafe, located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 114th Street, was known for its coffee and red velvet waffles, among other dishes. When it opened seven years ago, lower Frederick Douglass Boulevard had not become the busy residential and commercial strip that it is today.

Since then, hundreds of new apartments have been built in the area in addition to a Best Yet Supermarket. Central Harlem South, where the cafe is located, experienced an 11 percent increase in population, according to Census data. A restaurant boom has also ensued along the boulevard in the past three years.

Sakita Holley, editorial director of the soon-to-be relaunched Eat in Harlem Blog and head of House of Success public relations, called Society "a social hub" and "mainstay" that will truly be missed."

"As a solo entrepreneur, Society was where I'd go to network or hold meetings," she said. "In fact, I was just there yesterday!"

Fans of the restaurant mourned its closing on Facebook.

"I'm so sad to see Society go, and I'll continue to support 67 Orange. Still my two favorite spots in Harlem!" wrote Dawn Burns.

"Thank you Karl for you innovation and warm spirit!" wrote Theresa Newman.

Williams wrote that Society Coffee wil host a closing party from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement