Most restaurants would hate to make their debut in January, traditionally one of the slowest months of the year.
But for Sheri Wilson, who has big plans for Harlem Tavern, which she plans to open early next year, the dead of winter is the perfect time.
“We want to go through our growing pains before the spring and summer, when we will double in size,” she said.
The 3,500-square-foot eatery on West 116th Street and Fredrick Douglass Boulevard will have an additional 3,000 square feet worth of outdoor seating during the warm-weather months.
On the site of a former auto body shop—and before that a gas station—Harlem Tavern will join a bevy of new dining spots nearby, including Bier International and 5 & Diamond.
“We’re hoping that we’ll inspire other places to open here,” said Ms. Wilson, who lives in Harlem and is opening Harlem Tavern with her husband, Stephen Daly, and another partner, Gareth Fagan.
Mr. Fagan owns a bar called the Blind Pig in Lower Manhattan and Mr. Daly is a co-owner of a three-story sports bar in Times Square called Tonic Bar & Restaurant.
Ms. Wilson says Harlem Tavern was well received by the local community board, in part because it will replace a long-standing neighborhood eyesore. The auto body shop has been closed for years, she said.