There is a long tradition of Tea in Harlem as we discussed in this article A Short History Of Tea In Harlem from 2012. Another Tea Room to add to that list is the Char-Ko-Lette aka the Colonial Tea Room at 116th Street and Pleasant Avenue in East Harlem, NY, 1949.
Jimmy Paloni said on Italian Harlem site, the photograph above was:
“…my cousin Arthur and his family’s (Ida and Joe Nigro ), place the Char-Ko-Lette formerly called the Colonial Tea Room. I can’t tell if that’s Arthur out front, if not I’m not sure who it is.”
Also, on the website Frank Budano says:
“…I lived one flight over the Char-Ko-Lette after I was born in 1953… My grandmother lived on the top floor… I had great memories growing up and will never forgot Char-ko-lettes hamburgers and malteds…”
In the book The Tenants of East Harlem, East Harlem resident, Pete who lived on Pleasant Avenue said:
“Everybody in the city used to go there. Used to be hundreds of people out there at night. It was at 116th Street and Pleasant Avenue. It’s no more. I used to be in there morning non and night when I was a young man.”
The book continues with a since of loss:
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“The Colonial Tea Room, Sloopy Mike’s, Aida’s -these were the neighborhood hot spots of the 1940’s, thriving social institutions before the advent of public housing, and the scourge of slum clearance.”
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Get more Italian Harlem history on the website Italian Harlem.