If our goal for the inaugural night of "Chicken and Champagne" was to revive Red Rooster's original time-honored tradition of "Chitlins and Champagne," we certainly succeeded. Last night's "Chicken and Champagne" special at Red Rooster Harlem was a big hit with a full house to prove it.
Crowds of people, both old and young, came from all over the city to celebrate in Harlem with us on this big night, when we combined the traditional with the new in tribute to the original Red Rooster from long ago. The night started off with a bang (literally) as our good friend Dave Arnold from the French Culinary Institute stopped by to pop off the event by showing us how to open a champagne bottle the correct way, with a traditional champagne saber.
From there the festivities filled with food and drinks began, with a later performance by resident Red Rooster singer Belinda Munro accompanied by a jazz band. Our menu got rave reviews from customers throughout the night. The Chicken and Champagne snacks included a Chicken and Waffle Bite, Curried Chitlins, and Rooster Deviled Eggs. Red Rooster fan, Ruth Immiss, raved about the Chitlins, "I'm from South Carolina and I have never had Chitlins like these before! Everything was fabulous!" Known as the "Mayor of Harlem," Leslie Wyche, who also frequented the original Red Rooster stopped by and added that its "nice to see the resurgence of restaurants like this one in Harlem. This is one of my favorite places to come to."
Another original client of the Rooster who attended last night was Mary Dowery, who also shared with us her memories of the original restaurant, "I used to come here in the 50's right out of school and I remember seeing all types of people here, from celebrities and artists to regular folk, too. I'm glad to see Chitlins on the menu tonight, and I hope they begin to serve them again like they used to." Mary tried the Chicken and Waffles that she later gladly raved about.
Her reaction and those of our other guests were just what we wanted to accomplish when we thought of "Chicken and Champagne," and we're glad to have seen the entire community come out and share with us this joyful occasion. All in all, the night was a great success with the three best elements that Red Rooster could offer: great food, great music, and most importantly great people. We hope to continue bringing the neighborhood of Harlem more events that can bring the community together in remembering its heritage while celebrating its present.
Cheers to a fabulous night!