Head Over to The Edge Harlem For Taste of Jamaica and Britain

Head Over to The Edge Harlem For Taste of Jamaica and Britain

Juliet and Justine Masters. Sunday Best Magazine can attest that the food is great. Photo: Anthony Artis.

The pandemic could not have come at a more inopportune time for Justine and Juliette Masters, the sisters who own and operate Edge Harlem the popular community-oriented restaurant uptown. 

Their business had just celebrated five-years, the magical number by which the viability and survivability of most enterprises are judged, when the disease struck the nation and the world. “We more than broke even by then,” Juliette says, in an interview at the restaurant with Sunday Best Magazine. “The year before the pandemic, 2019, was out best year.” 

Suddenly the sisters—like hundreds of thousands of other business establishments in New York City, the State, and the nation—had to contend with the stay-at-home protocol that was declared in most states to help contain the spread of the covid-19 disease. 

For a business that relies on people coming out to eat—including on festive occasions, which now became rare—the sisters now had to deal with a customer drought. “Thankfully we were able to keep our business open. We didn’t want to let go of any of our hard-working employees,” says Justine. 

The sisters were able to retain their employees through funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) the SBA program that covered workers’ wages during the pandemic. 

You can tell how close these siblings are by the way each finishes the other’s thoughts, completing or complementing sentences during the conversation. It’s almost like interviewing one person. 

A major life-saver for restaurants also came when New York City waived zoning restrictions—now Edge Harlem was also able to serve food outdoors. “This really made a difference in the survival of our business,” Juliette says. 

Edge Harlem was able to boost revenue by starting food-delivery. “People heard that we were still open and wanted to show us their support,” Justine recalls. The delivery service continues and it’s become a reliable part of the restaurant’s revenue stream. 

The Harlem-residing sisters—their father is Jamaican and mother British—wanted the restaurant’s menu to include some of the foods they grew up eating. Not surprisingly, the menu features well-known staples like jerk-chicken and ackee and salt-fish; the latter served only on weekends. Other favorite menu items are: shrimp and grits; jerk chicken and waffle; salmon burger; fish and chips; coconut fish burger; coconut fish tacos; cod fritters; and mini crab-cakes.

Edge Harlem started as a coffee shop, with light fare, pastries and bakeries. However the sisters, both advocates of creating inclusive socially-conscious communities, didn’t like seeing people glued to their computer screens all days with no interaction. So they started broadening the menu, adding actual meals. This, naturally, meant more work in addition to managing Edge Harlem. “In the beginning I was doing the cooking as well,” Juliette, who has the culinary background, says with a laugh. It soon became obvious that the workload was overbearing. 

The sisters hired a chef who hails from the Ivory Coast, West Africa. “He took my menu and added his touch to it,” Juliette says. “We collaborate on some dinner specials together.”

The sisters say the capital to launch came from their savings and money from two private investors who were both paid back within 18 months. 

Juliet says the restaurant’s new customers come courtesy of word-of-mouth praise from satisfied customers and “having consistently good service and food.” The restaurant has also been featured in several publications and the sisters have appeared on Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s “Eat Up!” show on ABC7 TV. Edge Harlem was also included in the National Geographic documentary “Black Travel Across America.” The The restaurant has 4.5 stars on Yelp and Google. 

The restaurant is nestled on an ideal spot; 101 Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem, on a block close to some of Harlem’s loveliest brownstones on tree-lined streets. 

It takes only eight minutes to walk from a major subway station—where the A, C, D, and B lines pull up—on 145th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue to Edge Harlem. 

So what’s next for the sister duo? Together with a business partner, Lesly Bernard, they opened a new eatery, The Good Good, on 119 Street and Park Avenue on March 2023. The new restaurant’s website says, it’s creative “bistro” menu “is inspired by the trio’s shared international and Caribbean heritage and features modern takes on comforting dishes of their childhood Sunday dinners.”

What role does faith play in their lives? Justine says: “Juliet and I are spiritual. We are people who believe in doing the right thing and that’s where we operate from; that’s how we operate with our staff, that’s how we operate with each other. We know that our great-grand mother and grand mother and grand father helped us to get where we are.”

Find out more about Edge Harlem by visiting www.theedgeharlem.com and www.thegoodgoodnyc.com

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video