Black-owned Harlem restaurant, Ponty Bistro, robbed and vandalized

DeMicia Inman

‘Today we were gonna post an uplifting Holiday message since it’s 2 days before Christmas, but instead, we’re posting about the robbery.’

On Wednesday, Ponty Bistro in Harlem was robbed and vandalized as revealed by an Instagram post.

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“Today was a sad day for Ponty Bistro, we had some robbers come in and damage our property,” wrote Chef Cisse Elhadji on the social media website. He continued to describe “damage our property and stole money, break the PO system, and the cash register. Luckily we’re all fine and will still be open, thank you for all your support.”

The multiple videos show broken glass, and a broken cash register system with exposed wires and cords.

Ponty Bistro was featured in theGrio‘s Facebook Watch series Staying In Business, which explored how Black-owned businesses in multiple industries were navigating the coronavirus pandemic.

Staying In Business is a video series about perseverance in the face of tough times,” says Todd Johnson, the chief content officer at theGrio. “We want to shine a light on how Black business owners and entrepreneurs are meeting the challenge of a coronavirus pandemic head-on.”

Elhadji stayed open throughout the pandemic and has given away over 1,000 free meals to the community since the COVID-19 outbreak, according to theGrio.

Photo: Keston Duke Photography
Photo: Keston Duke Photography

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Another post shared by the restaurant’s Instagram account shared more details of the unfortunate event. The eatery was prepared to celebrate the winter holidays on social media before the crime shifted its upload plans.

“Today we were gonna post an uplifting Holiday message since it’s 2 days before Christmas, but instead we’re posting about the robbery that took place at Ponty Bistro early this morning,” the caption stated.

“This saddens us on so many levels not just to the damage and loss to us and our business, but to the individuals who felt they needed to rob & destroy a neighborhood establishment because times are tough and people are desperate. Everyone’s been affected by this crazy year and we understand this. But as we also struggle to survive this sets us back not just in our business but the ability for us to provide for our employees, our families, and our employees families as well. Remember your actions in life affect your community so to ‘Rob Peter, to pay Paul’ seems like a good idea in the short term but really just caused more harm than good. We will keep our heads up and everyone stay safe out there.”

According to the Ponty Bistro’s Facebook page, the restaurant existed for six and a half years before opening the Harlem location. The menu includes French and African dishes that “combined our Senegalese and West African cooking traditions with current culinary practices to create enticing dishes that reflect the flavors of our heritage–with a modern twist.”

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The post Black-owned Harlem restaurant, Ponty Bistro, robbed and vandalized appeared first on TheGrio.