Croatian-born business owner Jelena Pasic established the flagship location of Harlem Shake NYC on 124th and Lenox in May of 2013. The old school interior of the restaurant reflects Harlem’s culture and customers enjoy a menu made of hamburgers, all-beef hot dogs, salads, sandwiches and hand-spun shakes made with Blue Marble ice cream. In September of 2016, Harlem Shake opened its second location on 111th st. and 2nd avenue in El Barrio. Hire Harlem spoke with the Founder of Harlem ShakeNYC, Jelena Pasic to learn more about the restaurants contribution to the community in both Central and Eastern Harlem.
HH: How does Hire Harlem give back to the community?
JP: Building our success is dependent on our investment in the community, so we make it a priority to hire residents of Harlem. 80% of our staff must be residents of the neighborhood so that we are consistent in following our motto; "for Harlem and from Harlem."
We also have our Mr./Miss. Harlem Shake contest ever year. The contest provides a resident of Harlem with the opportunity to donate $1,000.00 to a non-profit organization of their choice. Mr./Miss Harlem Shake must be someone who lives in the community and gives back to the neighborhood through engagement or activism. This year we gave the title of Mr. Harlem Shake to actor and producer Marco Glorious Khar who chose to support the Children’s Aid Society with his prize money. Last year we donated the $1,000.00 prize award to Harlem Children’s Zone on behalf of Miss Harlem Shake 2016, Danielle Fontus. The winner of the Mr./Miss Harlem Shake contest also receives recognition for their service and rides on the Harlem Shake NYC float during the annual African American Parade.
HH: What does it mean to be a part of the Harlem Community?
JP: As a part of the village of Harlem it’s important we collaborate with our community and nonprofit organizations. Monthly we give back to several non-profits that improve the quality of life for young people in Harlem by donating to each of them monetarily and/or sponsoring events. Since our inception, we’ve provided resources and support for events in partnership with several community based organizations and institutions including Harlem Hospital, Abyssinian Baptist Church, Power of You Teens, Mama Foundation for the Arts, Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and Classical Theater of Harlem. Harlem Shake also gives back to the community by utilizing local vendors. Our Red Velvet milkshakes are only possible with red velvet cakes from a local bakery.
For more info: https://www.harlemshakenyc.com/