Food and Drink

An Iconic Harlem Soul Food Restaurant Is Expanding to the UWS and Beyond

The fried chicken favorite is looking to become a citywide chain with several locations around the city.

Photo by Christian Rodriguez for Thrillist
Photo by Christian Rodriguez for Thrillist
Photo by Christian Rodriguez for Thrillist

After shutting down the restaurant’s flagship location in Harlem last year, Charles Pan-Fried Chicken has begun its comeback.

The iconic fried chicken spot opened its first new location on the Upper West Side this week, and it’s the first of at least two outposts slated to open in Manhattan this year. “We’re trying to do the whole island of Manhattan,” Quie Slobert, chief operating officer told us. “When we do deliveries, we want to make sure everything is covered.”

Known for frying up wings, breasts, and thighs in a cast-iron skillet rather than a deep fryer, Charles-Pan Fried Chicken offers up its signature menu item along with sides like biscuits, collard greens, and Southern-style black eyed peas. The UWS location on 146 West 72nd Street will also offer new options like barbecue pulled pork and fried chicken sandwiches.The restaurant’s legendary owner, Charles Gabriel, originally learned to cook from his mom at a young age while growing up in Huntsville, North Carolina. Being part of a large family that included Gabriel’s 12 brothers and eight sisters, it was his way of chipping in to help her in the kitchen, and her advice from early on would shape his culinary career. “She told me, if I ever open up a restaurant, never do my chicken in the deep fryer,” says Gabriel, “she says ‘always cook your chicken in a frying pan.'”

Photo by Christian Rodriguez for Thrillist
Photo by Christian Rodriguez for Thrillist
Photo by Christian Rodriguez for Thrillist

Gabriel launched his Harlem institution in 1995 from a folding table along Amsterdam Avenue before trying out the concept as a food truck and later opening a brick-and-mortar location. Now, with new investors and a loyal following, the eatery has its eyes set on global expansion.

“In a perfect world, you will see Charles’ recipe book coming out soon, and Charles Pan-Fried Chicken all over the globe,” says Slobert. “There should be one in Virginia, one down South, one in Miami, and a location in every NYC borough. That’s the goal.”

Charles Pan-Fried Chicken’s second planned Manhattan outpost will be in Harlem on 145th Street and Edgecombe Avenue, which is several blocks away from the original location of Copeland’s, a restaurant once famous for its Gospel Brunches and where Gabriel worked in his twenties soon after arriving in NYC.

“Harlem is my home,” says Gabriel. “So the whole area there brings back memories of when I was working at Copeland’s.”

Charles Pan-Fried Chicken’s Upper West Side location is now open for lunch and dinner.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Liz Provencher is an associate editor at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter or see what she eats on Instagram.

Food and Drink

How Talking Terps Has Influenced Cannabis Hype Culture

The origins and optimism behind the cannabis brand that sells out drops within minutes. Canabis...

Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain
Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain
Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain

Many cannabis brands describe themselves as “lifestyle brands” and “cultural disruptors.” Few of them actually impact lifestyles or broader cultural trends. Only one of them has figurines up on Stock X right now.

“For OG Terp Crawford to be featured amongst Nike, Jordans, Supreme, BAPE, and PS5s is really sick,” says Hope Lord, co-founder of cannabis lifestyle brand Talking Terps. “Stock X is not taking everyone who makes a toy and putting it up there.”Between their psychedelic graphics, cannabis-adjacent accessories, and famous OG Terp Crawford figurine, Talking Terps has established a cult following amongst cannabis enthusiasts, hypebeasts, and beyond. On paper, it’s a lifestyle brand interested in both cannabis and psychedelics. In action, Talking Terps is an alternative universe that bridges the gaps between toy culture, cannabis culture, psychedelic culture, and American pop culture.

The brand was established as a concept in 2015 by Leor Feit aka Hope Lord, Flatbush Zombies member Antonio Lewis aka Zombie Juice, and Flatbush Zombies spiritual adviser Phil Annand aka PTA Haiti 3000. One year later, the phrase “talking terps” popped in a Flatbush Zombies song, referring to terpenes, a compound found in cannabis.

“We had a show at Red Rocks in Colorado,” Lord recalls. “I had a friend that was part of Blue River Terpenes who brought us the first sample of cannabis-derived terpenes. Then Juice and Erick made a song with it in the chorus.”

Talking Terps
Talking Terps
Talking Terps

Once Talking Terps emerged as a phrase, the graphics, accessories, apparel, events, and, of course, toys were soon to follow. By 2017, the phrase was spotted on one of Snoop Dogg’s t-shirts. In 2019, the concept of Terp Crawford was born, launching the brand towards the collectible toy game.

While the first Terp Crawford was technically a plush pillow, the first toy-named OG Terp Crawford-came in March 2020. The 6-inch tall vinyl sculpture of a humanized weed nug with a joint in his hand and a smile on his face is meant to embody everything Hope, Juice and PTA stand for.

“Our message is to love each other and be happy,” Lord says. “Tread lightly and disrupt nothing.”OG Terp Crawford drops sell out in actual seconds and resell on sites like Stock X for over double their retail price. More than a simple toy, he’s a figure that Talking Terps hopes will evolve into a full-on cartoon character.

“As time goes, the idea for Terp Crawford is for him to be a Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny type figure from our world that can cross over,” Lord says. “There should be no reason one day that Terp Crawford’s not throwing a football in some skit on Monday Night Football.”

That’s not just a high aspiration-the team is currently working with 3 Hearts Entertainment to develop a TV show around him. The goal is for Terp Crawford to go global and for Talking Terps to go meta. With their vast graphic library and club of TT enthusiasts, virtual collectibles like NFTs only make sense (though the team can’t let the terp out of the hat just yet).

“I can see Terp Crawford in Japan, speaking in Japanese on TV,” Lord muses. “Once we take him somewhere else, we could do big sculptures, like at KAWS level, maybe. I think we’ll get a TV show. I can’t speak too much on what we’re working on for the metaverse, but it’s got a lot of components. I can say that we’re building a whole new platform called the meta-forest.”

It’s safe to say there will be a sold-out waitlist to get into that forest.
Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat!

Danté Jordan is a freelance writer, video producer, and media consultant specializing in cannabis culture and education. Follow him on Instagram.

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