BROOKLYN, NY – NYC Council Member Farah N. Louis (D-BROOKLYN) joined elected officials and community residents to celebrate the Grand Re-opening of two East Flatbush businesses, Suede Restaurant this past Thursday and Tropical Paradise Cajun Seafood Restaurant on Saturday. These small businesses are making a comeback several months after COVID-19 devastated District 45, one of the hardest hit communities in the City of New York. Our district welcomes them back especially since they have both continued to support the community throughout the pandemic.

As the epicenter of the global pandemic, schools and small businesses throughout the five boroughs were shuttered. City streets were deserted as New Yorkers had to shelter in place to stop the spread of the virus. With restrictions slowly being lifted during four phases, small businesses are hoping to recoup thousands of dollars in lost revenue and save thousands of local jobs.

“When we support immigrant, women, and minority-owned small businesses, we are reinvesting in ourselves and creating opportunities for the next generation. Every dollar that circulates in our small business community helps preserve the economic vitality of our city, cultural diversity, job and housing security. We are surviving one of the most challenging times in recent memory. These past four months have proven that we are resilient and able to overcome any obstacle in our path when we work together. I am excited to welcome back two Black-owned businesses that have overcome tremendous obstacles, re-envisioned their business models and as a result, remain right where they belong – in the heart of our community,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis, who represents this community and is a member of the Council’s Committee on Economic Development.

Suede Restaurant, renowned for its charitable work, reopened its outdoor dining area on Thursday after serving as a main hub for distributing food to essential workers. Their grand re-opening was a dual celebration of their perseverance in spite of the COVID-19 public heallth challenges while customarily recognizing our city’s educators, who recently completed an unprecedented school year due to the pandemic.

“The Suede Family was happy to host our 3rd Annual Educators Thank You Celebration in tandem with our Grand Re-Opening Celebration. 2020 has been a tough year for everyone but we need to take opportunities like this to reinvigorate the community, support our essential workers and celebrate our shared Caribbean culture. Like every small business, we have had to rethink how our business would function in this new COVID world. We appreciate the support and partnership of Brooklyn Community Board 17’s Commerce Committee, the small business support non-profit Brooklyn Level Up, Inc., and elected officials such as Council Member Farah N. Louis, Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, and Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte. Our business’ vision has always been focused on creating a beautiful dining experience for the Caribbean community to feel welcome. It is gratifying to know that even in this time of social distancing, we can still find safe ways to keep Suede and the community connected, in accordance with state and city guidelines. Suede will continue to be a welcome home for the community to dine and enjoy Caribbean cuisine,” said Chasen Hollancid and Chaka Bomani, Co-Owners, Suede Hospitality Group.

Suede Restaurant was the first in a series of small businesses, more specifically restaurants to once again serve delicious meals infused with Caribbean flavors in the span of one week. On Saturday, local patrons and residents gathered to celebrate Tropical Paradise Cajun Seafood as it opened its doors to the public. In the preliminary months of the pandemic, this restaurant provided meals to frontline workers who fought tirelessly to save lives. This newest Cajun seafood-inspired edition to the Tropical Paradise family is the result of looking at how to differentiate Tropical Paradise’s presence in the local Caribbean restaurant community.

“I’d like to thank the East Flatbush Community for supporting Tropical Paradise Restaurant & Ballroom for 19 years and counting. Mr. Hassan Bakridden, Chairman Community Board Commerce Committee, Senator Kevin Parker, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Assemblyman Nick Perry, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, Councilwoman Farah Louis, Allyson Martinez Brooklyn Level Up Consultants, and Community Board 17 District Manager Sherif Fraser for attending the Official Reopening of Tropical Paradise Restaurant on 888 Utica Avenue, we look forward to continue serving the community and all our customers, we couldn’t do it without your support! Thank you once again from your Tropical Paradise Family,” said  Davis Gayle, Owner and Linden Clarke, Director of Operations at Tropical Paradise.

Community Board 17’s Commerce Committee has worked closely in partnership with the restaurant owners and local nonprofit organizations to help revitalize the commercial corridors of our community, one business at a time. Small businesses fuel the growth of our community, because they provide job and housing security. Our community cannot thrive if our small businesses do not prosper. One entity cannot survive without the other, and therefore it is imperative that we invest the time and resources to ensure that every small business succeeds.

“The Community Board 17 Commerce Committee is proud to present our series of Grand Re-openings for our local small business community. We look forward to continuing to look for innovative ways in which we can help increase the revenues of our small business community especially after the devastating effects of COVID-19,” said Hassan Bakiriddin, Chairperson of the Board’s Commerce Committee.

“Brooklyn Level Up, Inc. (BKLVLUP), a new non-profit providing support services to small businesses and residents of East Flatbush was excited to partner with Suede Hospitality Group and Brooklyn CB17 on a successful Suede Grand Re-Opening Celebration and Educators Thank You Celebration as well as Tropical Paradise’s Grand Re-Opening. We believe that uplifting the community by closing gaps to knowledge and funding access, providing industry-relevant toolkits, building networks and partnerships as well as simplification of government rules and regulations for the small businesses and residents with whom we work, will make the difference in ensuring that people of color remain and grow here. Without breaking down those barriers to entry and providing continued support and economic development initiatives, we would lose the people and businesses that have kept the East Flatbush Caribbean community connected and strong. BKLVLUP looks forward to more opportunities to network, plan initiatives with and to provide guidance to small businesses and residents. Together, we can transform our piece of Brooklyn into an equitable and empowered community for all who call her home,” said Rachel Goodfriend, Co-Founder, Brooklyn Level Up.