When I first moved to my slice of Harlem approx. six (or was it seven?) years ago now, from 110th – 125th on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, there was basically Mama’s (for fast food chicken), Melbas (for what I call classic american soul-food), and Patisserie Des Ambassades (for African inspired fare). Then came Society which we (and I personally) liked, frequented and promoted.
Which is why I was sad to learn that the venue was closing, effective this past Monday. And doubly sad that I could not attend closing weekend activities.
I remember many things about Society. The food, music, atmosphere including innovative DJs and interesting artwork. But I think what stands out the most is how hard the owner, Karl Franz Williams, worked. I would always see him at the store, working with staff, talking to customers, evaluating the voice of the customer through sites like Yelp, and walking to and fro between Society and 67 Orange (his other venue) on Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
To the owner of Society I give much respect, and a heartfelt thank you. As I have told him many times in person each time we’ve run into each other on the street, at a function, in Society or at his other venue 67 Orange, what he did and continues to do in Harlem is no small feat. It is simply awe-inspiring. I love entrepreneurs. Their spirit. Vision. Passion. Their pioneering ways.
I am glad Karl took the risks, has had successes, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. I’ll be a customer and advocate for life.
I look forward to Karl’s next act. Get ready for it.
Below is Society’s Farewell Notice.
Society Coffee…One Last Time… (A note from Karl)
“Dear Loyal Guests,
After seven years of serving the best coffee, red velvet waffles, and shrimp & grits in Harlem, I have made the difficult decision to close Society Coffee on Monday, October 10. A pioneer on Frederick Douglass Blvd, Society has been a true labor of love and a place I’ve called home. Over the years I have shared Society with thousands; I’ve watched people meet each other and fall in love, I’ve watched families begin and grow, deals get done, and business plans get written. I’ve watched college students work, friends hang out, and poets write. I’ve met so many great people who have changed and elevated my life.
Rooted in the richness of the Harlem community and the transformation on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Society Coffee leaves with a sense of pride and appreciation to all our friends who made each day unique and flavorful. Society has served its purpose and has set neighborhood standards for a new generation in historic Harlem. We were always very close and involved with the community and it remains in our hearts. 67 Orange Street will continue to operate and serve great cocktails.
I would like to personally thank you for all your support these past years. To show you our appreciation, I would like to cordially invite you to our closing party Monday, October 10 from 5pm-7pm.
Meanwhile, please come by this weekend and enjoy brunch with us or just say hi. Thanks again for seven great years.
Karl Franz Williams