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Chef Alexander Smalls Thinks Big

Exploring his 25-year passion and his skills as a restaurateur, executive chef Alexander Smalls is making a lot of noise in Harlem. After the recent opening of his first restaurant The Cecil, which opened in September, he is hoping for similar success with his second location, Minton’s.

“The two are like fraternal twins, but they complement each other,” says Smalls.

Although connected, both restaurants are sure to give patrons two different experiences. The Afro-Asian-American inspired restaurant The Cecil puts an African twist into the mix making the chef’s travels come to life on the plate. The dishes are prepared to show the diversity in his vision by adding African spices to traditional American, Asian, and Latin dishes. Seating about 140 to 150 people, this casual upscale dining restaurant is accompanied by contemporary art pieces and big picture windows to add to the décor of the warm spacious setting.

Minton’s, which opened earlier this week October 21, 2013, has Smalls excited. With a completely different menu and style, he sums up Minton’s in four words: sexy, intimate, romantic, and beautiful. The cherry walls with smoky mirrors and black and white portraits are some of the sophisticated touches inside his restaurant. Seating about 70 people for a fixed price of $90, Minton’s will offer a fixed menu with four courses and a live band. Drinks would be an additional charge, but this would be reservation only.

“It’s exciting when you think of something and bring it to life,” the chef adds. “I have an amazing team and they dream as I dream.”

Chef Smalls is also expected to serve Thanksgiving dinner in both places. Minton’s will be in the evening for the adult crowd, while The Cecil will act as the traditional family feast for everyone around lunchtime.

To learn more about Chef Alexander Smalls and his restaurants, please visit and

Prawns with Piri Piri sauce-The Cecil

Prawns with Piri Piri sauce-The Cecil
(Photo Credit: Lucy Schaeffer)