Swapping Ceviche for Sushi in El Barrio

Harlem Industrial Kitchen (Photo via Manhattan Times)

The Mexican restaurant El Paso in East Harlem closed after 10 years but unlike many other stories involving gentrifying neighborhoods, this one doesn’t end there. On Oct. 5, it reopened with a new name – Harlem Industrial Kitchen – new menu, new look, and a new location, reports Sophie Putka in Manhattan Times.

“Huevos a la mexicana” has given way to pork belly frittata. The cevicheria section has been replaced by sushi and a raw bar.

Rodrigo Abrajan, who owns a chain of Mexican restaurants in East Harlem, together with his former employee and now Harlem Industrial Kitchen’s executive chef Braulio Hernández, have given El Paso, which Abrajan ran, a new identity.

Catering to what they see as changing tastes that reflect a rapidly gentrifying El Barrio, the two have revamped El Paso’s image with food and design geared toward a more affluent crowd.

“It’s turning into a different city or neighborhood. It’s becoming cleaner, it’s modern and more casual,” said Hernández.

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