Our small business community is resilient in spite of the economic challenges faced by our business owners every day. Our small business community is reinvigorating neighborhood spaces and creating new business opportunities. One example of this is WaHI Chamber Member, Merienda Restaurant, which opened its doors on a stretch of Amsterdam Avenue a year ago February. Offering Latin American-Italian fusion cuisine, served in an open, bright and cheerful environment, Merienda’s Dominican-inspired menu has quickly become a neighborhood favorite.
A friendly staff welcomes customers for a delicious lunch, dinner, or anything in between like its fresh and varied selection of smoothies. But don’t take our word for it, check out the overwhelmingly positive reviews on Yelp and Google. Or better yet stop by for a bite! And while you’re there, consider Amsterdam Avenue as a new frontier for the business community. Merienda makes a great neighbor to have!
Past Members of the Month...
“When I was younger, I always saw myself having a career in healthcare. Later in life, when I was introduced to Optometry, it was love at first sight (forgive the pun).” – Dr. Jason Compton
Since opening on Broadway in 2015, our Member of the Month, Compton Eye Associates, has become a neighborhood favorite. As an optometrist, Dr. Jason Compton is known for his courteous, professional and highly knowledgeable service. As a business owner, Dr. Compton is driven, determined and savvy. With a winning combination of word of mouth, marketing and targeted advertising, Compton Eye Associates has expanded to another outpost in the Bronx in the last year.
When it came time to open his own practice, Uptown wasn’t an accident. “I decided to open my own office within the Washington Heights and Inwood community. Whether it was for the people, the culture or the area, I knew if I was ever going to open something of my own, it would be here.” And Dr. Compton has immersed himself in the community. As co-chair of the Community Board 12 Business Development Committee, Dr. Compton was instrumental in advocating for the needs of residents through the city’s Inwood rezoning process. A champion of neighborhood small businesses and a supporter of Uptown arts, Dr. Jason Compton is all that and so much more. Thank you for your dedication to our community!
A relative new kid on the block, Terravita opened over the summer of 2018 on a stretch of Broadway known more for its fast food options than international cuisine. Over the last year and a half, Terravita has redefined what fine dining means to Washington Heights, and the buzz is only growing. Offering everything from mouth-watering wild salmon and branzino to pastas, steaks and lamb chops, the key words are fresh ingredients and healthy preparation, which also made them a natural fit for the WaHI Chamber’s Get Fit Festival last year.
With talented head chef Jose Rosa overseeing the kitchen and his gracious and always smiling wife Stephanie overseeing operations, the couple has succeeded in their goal in creating healthy menu options with their international fusion cuisine in a casual yet refined setting featuring a bright, open and airy dining room. By all appearances the Rosas have hit on a balanced and winning formula, as seen by their recently opened expansion into the next-door space! We applaud Terravita for proving to their returning and new customers alike that delicious and healthy are not mutually exclusive! As Stephanie tells us, “It’s always fulfilling to see empty plates.”
In case you’re new Uptown and haven’t heard of them, please allow us to introduce our inaugural Member of the Month, Buunni Coffee. “In Ethiopian culture, no one makes coffee for only themselves - coffee is community.” It is with this philosophy in mind that in 2011 husband and wife team Elias Guramu and Sarina Prabasi first opened Buunni Coffee in a residential enclave tucked away in Washington Heights.
Eight years later, Buunni has blossomed into a mini-empire, with branches in Inwood, Riverdale and the George Washington Bridge Terminal Marketplace. Through the years, Buunni has remained dedicated to their Uptown home and have been vital contributors to the neighborhood, their shops becoming a virtual town hall to many. And while expanding their business, Sarina even found time to become a published author this year with the release of The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times. We applaud Sarina and Elias and the staff at Buunni and thank them for their service to the community!