Cozy, Comfortable, Yummy Melba’s In Harlem, NYC

On the website, Melba Wilson describes her establishment as “Harlem’s top restaurant featuring the elegant simplicity of America’s best comfort style cuisine in a delightfully romantic, family setting.”  Well-written and I have to say, I agree.

During an annual mother/daughter adventure to NYC, Maggie and I had the chance to meet for dinner a beloved Nashville friend living in Harlem, Jeff Pettit and partner, Joel Henderson. After accidentally ending up in Queens!!, we subway U-turned it back to Harlem and the adventure began.

Jeff has been telling me for years how much he loves living in Harlem and we thoroughly enjoyed happy hour at his super charming fourth floor apartment with granite counters and great hardwood floors.

Bad iPhone pic but great friends at their Harlem apartment in front of striking artwork created by Joel Henderson.

Walking easily to the 300 W. 114th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd. dinner venue, we entered Melba’s on a Saturday night with no reservation. (Okay, we had reservations but it didn’t allow time for us to get lost in Queens.)

On this cold December night, we strolled into the warmth and sensations of a fantastically charming Melba’s. Experiencing being the only Caucasians in the place, the hostess and bartender were warm and inviting. It kind of felt like we were welcomed into a private party.

After enjoying well prepared bar drinks, we had great seats with prompt, friendly service. The menu featured an array of comfort food with us ordering Southern Fried Chicken and Eggnog Waffles (featured on the Food Network), Wine Braised Short Ribs of Beef, Charleston Jumbo Shrimp, Tres Mac & Cheese.  Sauteed Spinach and Grilled Salmon.

Southern Fried Chicken and Eggnog Waffles

Wine Braised Short Ribs of Beef

Charleston Jumbo Shrimp and incredible Tres Mac & Cheese

The entire table was extremely satisfied and pleased with our selections with the chicken/waffles and the mac & cheese the favorites. And the bill was around $80 for four entrees (and a glass of wine)! A highlight of the evening was a birthday celebration at an adjacent table with Melba imploring all to sing with some soul “including you white folks.”

Worth the trip? You betcha. We ate at a variety of Manhattan, Hell’s Kitchen, NoHo, SoHo and Tribeca restaurants with Melba’s being a top favorite. For more info including lunch and dinner menus, visit




About Nancy McNulty

PR & marketing practitioner, wife/mom, writer, tennis player, cook & lover of the arts & pop culture. Began as a Nashville Banner & WMCP Radio Station reporter. Communications grad - Univ.of TN - Knoxville including working at WUTK & The Daily Beacon. Spent two summers interning in Washington, DC w/ one stint in the Majority Leader's Press Office - "yes, I can give you directions Mr. Kissinger." Now living, loving & working in Nashville, TN w/ my integrated marketing biz - Forest Home Media.. Love sharing great tips on what to do & where to go with folks via this NanceSense experience blog.Twitter & Instagram @NanceSense & Pinterest@NancyMcNulty
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