Restaurants competed for prime space at Harlem EatUp! Festival

A kind of a prelude to the Harlem EatUp! Festival unfolded in Harlem Tuesday. You could feel the excitement as this grows into a bigger one in May. Tuesday's event was a cooking competition among Harlem food scene newcomers Belle Harlem, Harlem Pizza Co. and Tsion Café. The winner will get to take over sponsor Citi's space in the market area to serve its food.

They brought their recipes and their game to Harlem: chopping, boiling, and stirring. They got kind of fancy. They told me this is about celebrating the flavor of Harlem. It is called the Harlem Market Challenge. The three restaurants went toe-to-toe for a chance to showcase at the main festival, which runs May 18-21 in Morningside Park and throughout the neighborhood.

Then came time for the judges to crown the winner: Tsion Cafe, an Ethiopian restaurant that rose to the top.

The restaurants are part of an always evolving and growing Harlem.