HARLEM -- LoLo's Seafood Shack is Harlem's original Cape Cod and Caribbean mashup.
Since 2014, Chef Raymond Mohan and his wife and co-owner, Leticia 'Skai' Young, created a menu filled with island flavors - including LoLo's Seafood Boil with a choice of shrimp, crawfish, or snow crab legs, Fish Fry Baskets, Belizean Conch Fritters, Jerk Ribs and more!
Mohan grew up in Guyana and brings a touch of South America to his cooking, but you will find plenty of items inspired by Maine or Cape Cod.
"I learned how to cook at the age of four years old, in South America with my mom at a roadside stand," said Chef Mohan. "At four years old I'm not doing much but tasting - but watching and observing everything."
The LoLo's experience is inspired by the Locally Owned, Locally Operated seaside eateries; referred to as 'lolos', they encountered while living abroad in the British West Indies. When Mohan and Young saw the space in Harlem, they immediately thought 'Harlem needs its own LoLo'.
"We are known for our steam pots," said Young. "It's a perfect combination of Cape Cod and the Caribbean."
It's a Caribbean-styled getaway in the heart of Harlem, where Skai young grew up.
Summer is usually their busiest time, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, they have had to pivot their business.
Some of the changes they made - to adapt to social distancing guidelines - were adding road-side dining and a sidewalk cafe. They have seen an uptick in delivery and take out.
Chef Mohan also noticed the uptick in requests for large platters to feed families, so he has adapted the menu to include large portion trays for Harlemites to take home to their loved ones.
The couple has also dedicated their business to giving back to the community in a plethora of ways. They have served more than 500 meals per day - every day during the peak - for Feed the Frontlines NYC to help feed hospital workers. In partnership with Harlem EatUp!, Young and Mohan have also been working with the World Central Kitchen to feed people in shelters and seniors.
"We have been blessed to be able to keep doing that work and be able to give back," said Young. "It's giving me such a great sense of purpose - having been born and raised here in Harlem - it reiterates what we set out to do when we opened up the restaurant."
LoLo's Seafood Shack currently offers takeout, delivery, and (self-serve) seated outdoor dining. They currently have 40 seats at their roadside and sidewalk cafe. Find out more about LoLo's on their website.