If long wait times and food chains are your thing, Gateway Mall features endless options for a fine dining experience.
To offer a different experience that reflects the community’s tastes, Andrew Walcott — an attorney-at-law and certified public accountant — opened Fusion East, a Caribbean and soul food restaurant, just a short month ago.
A resident of the community, Walcott started the journey to Fusion East a year ago. “I wanted to create a restaurant that would appeal to the culinary tastes of the neighborhood,” he said.
Walcott, who is of Bajan descent, opted to combine Caribbean and soul food to live under one roof in order to reflect the strong African American and Caribbean American community within Spring Creek, East New York, and Canarsie.
“Most of the community around here is Caribbean American and African American,” he explained. “I wanted something where everybody in the community could feel welcomed.”
A member of Community Board Five, Walcott was able to confer with other members of the community board, local political leaders, and residents before opening Fusion East on Elton Street between Vandalia and Flatlands avenues.
According to Kawayne Alexander, assistant general manager at Fusion East, “A lot of people are extremely happy that we have a dining restaurant within the area. The only option is to go by the mall and it’s usually very crowded, waiting 30 minutes to an hour.”
Two short blocks away from one entrance of the mall, Fusion East is tucked into a growing neighborhood — surrounded by newly constructed apartments. To accommodate the growing community, employees in the mall, and nearby teachers, Walcott and his management team crafted a take-out menu to benefit both the lunch and late-night crowd.
“We have two different portion sizes, for the people who are at home and want to sit back and have a full meal but not in the restaurant — the large portion is on there. The small portion is for people who are at work and want a quick lunch to go,” Alexander explained.
“Many of the mall employees only get about 15 to 20 minutes for lunch,” Walcott added.
With just a few short weeks under their belt, Walcott and Alexander hope to continue expanding their reach into the community through expanding their take-out menu and hosting various entertainment-focused nights.
Currently offering a weekly comedy show, they hope to introduce more open mic, live music, and other events.
“We definitely want to have more live music here as well, open mic, poetry, probably some karaoke as well,” Walcott said.