The owner of a popular Harlem dining spot has said goodbye to the restaurant business and hello to retirement.
After more than eight years, Cindy Greenwell closed the doors to BG's Deli & Fine Catering on Aug. 10.
"It is bittersweet," Greenwell said, adding that she cried on the last day as customers were lined out the door to enjoy one last lunch from Greenwell and her staff. "Our customers are very loyal ... From the very beginning, we've been blessed."
Greenwell's husband, Mike, retired from Wackenhut in September and has been helping his wife run BG's since. The couple decided in the spring to make retirement permanent for them both.
As the Greenwells move on, the restaurant and its name will live on through a new operator.
Stacie Hart, a lifelong Harlem resident and owner of A 2 Harts Catering Co., took over the restaurant Thursday. She plans to reopen the business on Labor Day weekend under the name BG's Deli A 2 Harts Catering Co.
"I feel extremely blessed that they have trusted me with their good name, with the foundation that is already built for me, to be the next generation and bring it into the 21st century," said Hart, who has run her catering business for 10 years.
The BG's name was not something the Greenwells gave without thought. They wanted to find someone they trusted to carry on the business.
"That was very important to us," Greenwell said. "It really was important. We wanted somebody who was dedicated to serving the customers in the area because they are like family to us."
Harlem Mayor Scott Dean said he was happy to hear that someone else was taking over the restaurant because he'd like to keep downtown businesses operating.
"Everything is coming together and looking good," Dean said, referring to the city's ongoing streetscape downtown renovation project. "We want to make sure we've got our businesses full."
Hart said she's looking forward to adding her twist on the BG's menu and dining room. In addition to some of the menu favorites at BG's, Hart said she'll add more grilled foods including fish, steaks and chicken.
She also plans to add seating for about 25 more people in the dining room and change the hours of operation. After the Sept. 2 reopening, Hart said she'll offer reserved seating for the first Sunday of every month to cater to the after-church crowd.
Tentatively, Hart plans to have the restaurant open for Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night dinner and Monday through Friday, and the first Saturday and Sunday of the month, for lunch.
As the restaurant moves into the fall without its founder, Greenwell said she and her husband have lots of plans, including spending more time with their eight grandsons, four of whom live in the area.
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