Doug E. Fresh Has A New Restaurant, Plus: We Want You To Rate Other Rap Eateries 
THIS TEXT ORIGINALLY APPEARS IN THE STORY "TEACH ME HOW TO DOUGIE" FROM THE MARCH 2011 ISSUE OF XXL. ON SALE NOW
Doug E.’s isn’t your average Harlem chicken-and-waffles spot. Rap legend, record producer, beat-box innovator and Harlemite Doug E. Fresh opened the family-run restaurant in September 2010 with the goal of offering good food while providing the youth in the community a local hangout.
Located in the heart of Harlem—at 132nd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard—the uptown location allows Fresh to stay close to his roots. “I love Harlem,” says Fresh. “I’ve been all over the world, but Harlem is the world to me. I opened up the business here to bring more value to the community.” And that hometown pride is on full display, as the walls are tagged with colorful 1980s graffiti, and the small establishment pays homage to hip-hop heavy hitters like Big L, Cam’ron and Sean “Diddy” Combs—all Uptown natives—blasting their classic hits throughout the eatery’s sound system.
With only a few tables and a shiny metal counter to sit at, the cash-only place caters mainly to takeout diners. The Human Beatbox keeps his menu simple, specializing in a combination of tasty golden fried chicken and cinnamon-tinged waffles. With a traditional Caribbean menu, Doug E.’s serves rice ’n’ peas, a selection of chicken and fish and a healthy dose of vegetables.
Doug E.’s has cultivated a large hip-hop clientele. Fellow Harlem MC Black Rob calls Doug E.’s “the east-side Roscoe’s,” referencing the famed Los Angeles chicken-and-waffles franchise. While Rob favors the mac and cheese and smothered chicken, on any given day, it’s not uncommon to run into Kid Capri, The Lox and other hip-hop artists ordering a number of favorites from the flavorful menu.
Aside from providing Harlemites with their first trendy hip-hop-friendly eatery since the days of legendary establishments like Willie Burger and Pan Pan, Fresh also opened his restaurant as a source of employment for youth in his Harlem neighborhood. “I wanted to be able to give kids in the community jobs and make sure they know the value of eating well,” he says. “This would be the equivalent to Happy Days, where everyone hangs because the vibe is so good. It’s not unusual to see a group of us battling or beat-boxing. We have new artists that come by and drop music off. Our music game is crazy. I like to keep that spirit alive.”
Now that’s fresh. —Nicole LoPresti
DOUG E FRESH ISN'T THE ONLY RAPPER WITH AN EATERY. READ ON TO LEARN ABOUT AND RATE OTHER HIP-HOP RESTAURANTS.
Jay-Z's 40/40 Club
Opened in Manhattan in 2004 by Jay-Z, this upscale sports bar—which now includes locations in Atlantic City, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Tokyo and Macau—serves your standard bar and grill fare like finger foods, burgers, wraps, salads and of course NY strip steak, sure to give customers a taste of that “Empire State of Mind.”
Diddy’s remaining restaurant in Atlanta (he closed his original NY location in 2007) is known for its Southern and Caribbean flavors. The bad boy boss has been serving up dishes like Calypso Chicken and Cornish Hen Jambalaya for over 14 years. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Ludacris invested in this spicy Asian inspired restaurant in 2008. Getting rave reviews from Food and Wine magazine for is Singapore style chilli lobster, and tasty fried rice dotted with plump shrimp, it seems worth the trip to the ATL.
Flavor Flav's Flav’s Fried Chicken
The Public Enemy hypeman turned reality star recently embarked on his latest venture, a restaurant franchise. The first branch opened last January in Clinton, Iowa and Flav, who has a culinary degree and whose family owned a diner, is ready for his secret fried chicken recipe to face off against KFC’s Col. Sanders. Yeah Boyeee!
Kanye West's Fatburger
Kanye West quietly bought two Fatburger franchises in and around his native Chicago a few years back. While the Orland Park location shut its doors last month, a Beverly store is still cooking up burgers and fries and Mr. West recently invested in the rights to 10 more spots in the area. Mm Mm G.O.O.D.
Sean P's Mojito
Sean P of the YoungBloodz is a partner in his uncle’s Cuban restaurant, Mojito in Atlanta’s Hotel Midtown (formerly known the Wyndham). The latin eatery is praised for its mariscos en chipotle, paella and Chef Lucy Alvarez’s flan.
Black Rob's Feed Um’s
About four months ago Black Rob welcomed in customers to his new soul food spot in his Harlem hometown. Situated on 108th street between 5th and Madison Ave, the ex-Puffy associate tells XXLMag.com that the cabbage, cooked using his grandma’s secret recipe, the baked chicken and the red velvet cake all taste like Woah!