Last fall, a website for Emeline’s surfaced, sparking Internet chatter surrounding the fate of the location. While the buildout process was somewhat arduous at times, at the opening day celebration part-owner Linda DeJesus said it has been well worth all the work and attention to detail.
“It took us some time to get it kicked off right, but we got it done,” she said. “Like one of the representatives from the Department of Buildings was telling me earlier, it took a little longer than we thought it would in the beginning, but we did it right, which makes a big difference.”
If someone were to tell DeJesus that she’d be standing on the dining room floor of her own restaurant just one year ago, she would’ve been surprised.
“About this time last year, my uncle just nonchalantly says, Zarif and I would like to open up a restaurant, and then we decided to have a family meeting where we talked about having family as investors,” she said. “We have 18 families invested in this now.”
Her Uncle Charles Atwell was the true instigator of the project. “This is his building, this is his idea,” DeJesus said.
DeJesus said the restaurant will specialize in classic breakfast and lunch fare, mentioning that pancakes, French toast, and biscuits and gravy would be just a few of the regular menu items.
If the turnout for the ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration is any indicator of the future of this restaurant, the anticipation for the coming of Emeline’s was well placed.
“I’m thrilled that the 2,000th restaurant assisted [by Small Business Services] is literally at the end of my block,” Councilman Robert Cornegy said. “You can expect to see me, my wife and our six children regularly, and as you might expect we all have big appetites.”
And Cornegy wasn’t the only politician with local roots on hand to help cut the ribbon.
“This particular location over the years has been a drug store, a launderette, and a gallery, for those who don’t know,” said Assemblywoman Annette Robinson. “I grew up around the corner so I am quite familiar with the neighborhood and I live only a few blocks away so this is a very special place.”
Borough President Eric Adams quoted Helen Keller at the ceremony, saying that the only thing worse than having no sight is to have sight without vision.
“We cannot talk about Bedford Stuyvesant with speaking about some of the visionaries,” Adams said. “They saw the community not with their eyes but with their heart, because true vision comes from the heart. They really paved the way for the excitement we are experiencing now in the borough of Brooklyn.”
In honor of their successful push to open a “by locals for locals” restaurant in Bed-Stuy, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce gifted Emeline’s with a one-year membership and full access to its services.
“In honor of the Fourth of July, Chamber member number 1,776 is none other than [Emeline’s],” said Chamber CEO and President Charles A Scissura. “I don’t do this often, but we’re offering you a one-year complimentary membership to the chamber. If you need help, I make a mean omelet.”