Financier Turned Restaurateur Elevates Harlem to New Heights

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[The Restaurant Business]

When you first step foot into Creole, an expanding restaurant on the edge of upper Manhattan the bare brick walls enhanced by rich artwork heighten the low-key atmosphere. A stomach-pleasing aurora of blackened spicy catfish and yams are just a few reasons to take Creole for a try.

Owner, Kevin Walters has watched his eatery blossom into a growing business.

It’s fitting that Walters chose Harlem of all places to open his establishment. “I wanted to be in the center. I wanted to be around a community that is transition,” he says.  

Stepping foot into this eatery takes you back to a time when the “Roaring Twenties”, put Harlem on the map. Many may recall the Cotton Clubs of the Harlem Renaissance where live music filled the air, bringing people of all backgrounds together.
I was inspired by everything that I’ve read in regards to ambiance of the 20’s, 30’s, supper club space, a place where people came and socialized,” he adds.

Walters ensures that jazz music plays a major role in his establishment. “Jazz, is the only true African American music made by Americans; it is specifically the music of the soul. This music is filled with creativity, and is the sound of the supper-club scene,” says Walters.

It's not surprising that this former financial adviser has thrived off of incorporating one of America’s most beloved sounds into a venue where it can be appreciated. Creole now attracts diverse crowds and has remained in growth mode despite the recession. It may help that this restaurant is run by a former adjunct professor of Baruch College, one of the top business colleges in NYC.

For those who are considering opening their own eating venues, Walters has some advice: “Understand all strains of revenue and maximize where you can. If you are going to open a business, understand that if you don’t have a correct business model for all economies, then you are bound to lose. 90% of businesses close because people don’t know how to run them.”

For more information on Creole go to

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