Jaunary 17, 2024

There are over 60 Brooklyn options for diners during Restaurant Week.

NYC Restaurant Week kicked off Tuesday with 64 Brooklyn joints participating in the three week food bonanza across the city.

Participating restaurants will offer two-course lunches and three-course dinners at $30, $45 and $60. More than 600 restaurants across the five boroughs are participating in the program, which runs from January 16 to February 4.

Restaurant Week was created in 1992 and was originally intended to be a one-time event to welcome the Democratic National Convention. It is now held semi-annually. Restaurants can choose to participate in one, two or all three weeks. Saturdays are excluded from the program.

Kokomo, a modern Caribbean-fusion restaurant in Williamsburg, is participating in all three weeks. The eatery has opted into every NYC Restaurant Week since opening in the summer of 2020.

"It's a good way to give people an opportunity to try our food by offering them a special deal," said Kevol Graham, co-founder of Kokomo. Graham opened the restaurant in the midst of the pandemic with his wife Ria and credits social media strategy for keeping them afloat through what has been a rocky few years for the restaurant industry.

The restaurant is debuting new menu items this week, including a vegan soup with vegetables, Jamaican curry, a cod fish dinner, and a rum raisin bread pudding desert.

"It's a melting pot," said Graham of Kokomo's cuisine. "We try to collaborate with all the different Caribbean islands by infusing and taking different ingredients and pairing different things together that you normally wouldn't."

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January 16,2024

"Dry January" might mean giving up alcohol but, it doesn't have to mean giving up fun, freshly shaken drinks. Kokomo Carribean Restaurant located in Williamsburg, has begun offering custom made "mocktails" this month to normalize giving up alcohol and living a healthy lifestyle.

"We noticed people have started coming in and asking for more mocktails, and I think it's because of dry January that people are coming in. And, we say 'Hey, have a mocktail!'," said co-owner of Kokomo Kevol Graham.

Graham who shook up a virgin pina colada behind the bar, says the restaurant's diverse menu includes flavors from all cultures of the Caribbean Islands, including dishes like jerk chicken, braised oxtail stew and jackfruit tacos.

He thought, "Why not use those same island flavors to make drinks tastier, while being alcohol-free?"

"We are inspired by Carribean rich flavors so, we have guava, we have coconut, passion fruit is one of my favorites," said Graham.

Kokomo's staff says mocktails have become very popular on their menu, and plan to offer them year-round even long after Dry January.

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January 10, 2024

Craving a Cuban sandwich? Or is succulent jerk chicken on your mind? Maybe it's rice and peas, or roast pork. Whatever island delicacy you're in the mood for, there are plenty of places around the city to get your fix—so how can you know which ones won't disappoint? Here, we've rounded up ten of the best Caribbean spots in NYC, according to our editors and online reviews. (Psst: Our picks include a laid-back Puerto Rican joint, an inventive Haitian eatery and a new restaurant by a popular James Beard-awarded chef.)

16 Cozy Restaurants in NYC to Beat the Winter Blues:

1. Kokomo Caribbean Restaurant

  • Reservations: Resy
  • What to Order: salmon filet, lobster bisque, stuffed plantains, oxtail flatbread

  • This Williamsburg spot is influenced by various Caribbean nations, and its menu proves it. Offering dinner, drinks and brunch, Kokomo is slinging classics like jerk chicken and modern meals like sweet plantain pancakes alike. "They're on the pricier side, but I like that they offer flavorful, Caribbean dishes with a healthy spin," says assistant editor Nakeisha Campbell. Head there on the weekend for tunes by a live DJ.

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    January 9, 2024

    We'll take any scrap of good news we can during these bleak winter months. For example, NYC Restaurant Week is back. (It's also shorter this year. But it's back.)

    The annual promotional tradition, which aims to boost business with meal deals during a normally slow time of year, kicks off January 16 and runs through February 4 — about a week shorter compared to last year's event.

    This year, 62 restaurants in Brooklyn are taking part (up from 49 from 2023). Prices, however, have remained the same with a two-course lunch costing $30 and a three-course dinner costing $45. Some places will also offer a pricier $60 dinner if you want to splurge.

    One caveat: Special menus aren't available on Saturdays and, in some cases, Sunday, so check ahead.

    Here's the full list of Brooklyn restaurants, in alphabetical order:
    Antica Pesa (Williamsburg)
    Aromi (Carroll Gardens)
    As You Are (Boerum Hill)
    Barano (Williamsburg)
    Barbalu (Boerum Hill)
    Bee's Knees Provisions (Cobble Hill)
    Benchmark (Park Slope)
    Bleu Fin Bar & Grill (Crown Heights)
    Brooklyn Winery (Williamsburg)
    Buttermilk Channel (Carroll Gardens)
    Cebu Bar & Bistro (Bay Ridge)
    Cena (Windsor Terrace)
    Chela (Park Slope)
    Clinton Hall (Williamsburg)
    De Mole (Williamsburg)
    Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (Gowanus)
    Dram Shop Bar (Park Slope)
    elNico (Williamsburg)
    Xolo (Williamsburg)
    Evalyn's Tap House (Boerum Hill)
    Fandi Mata (Williamsburg)
    Fonda (Park Slope)
    French Louie (Boerum Hill)
    Gage & Tollner (Downtown)
    Gargiulo's (Coney Island)
    Esme (Greenpoint)
    Greenhouse Cafe (Bay Ridge)
    Hunter's Steak & Ale House (Bay Ridge)
    Indian Table (Cobble Hill)
    Isla & Co. (Williamsburg)
    Kokomo (Williamsburg)
    Kru (Greenpoint)
    Kyuramen (Park Slope)
    Le Crocodile (Williamsburg)
    Leuca (Williamsburg)
    Level Restaurant & Bar (Sheepshead Bay)
    Lore (Park Slope)
    Mable's Smokehouse (Williamsburg)
    Mesiba (Williamsburg)
    Mikhuy Peruvian Restaurant (Park Slope)
    Morgan's Brooklyn Barbecue (Prospect Heights)
    Muchmore's Gastropub (Williamsburg)
    Neeloo (Williamsburg)
    Nick's Lobster House (Mill Basin)
    Palo Santo (Park Slope)
    Parklife (Gowanus)
    Pierozek (Greenpoint)
    Pizette (East Williamsburg)
    Pomp and Circumstance (Williamsburg)
    Recette (Williamsburg)
    Red Hook Lobster Pound (Red Hook)
    Santo Bruklin (Carroll Gardens)
    Sereneco (Greenpoint)
    Shan (Boerum Hill)
    Someday Bar (Boerum Hill)
    Soulkofa Vegan Healthfood (Bed-Stuy)
    Stone Park Cafe (Park Slope)
    Tanoreen (Bay Ridge)
    Terasa North Ninth (Williamsburg)
    Tiny's Cantina (Prospect Heights)
    Tonchin Brooklyn (Williamsburg)
    Tong (Bushwick)

    January 8, 2024

    Including dazzling newcomers and familiar favorites.

    Choosing a favorite restaurant in New York City is a joyful task with myriad possibilities depending on the occasion, mood and even the time of year. Your favorite dive, fine dining destination and 'any night' type of place might all occupy top spots on your personal best list in spite of their disparate qualities. 

    Our list of NYC's 50 best restaurants is the same, spanning each of those categories and more to comprise a catalogue of all the places we wish we were at right now. They don't have to be the newest or the most recently reviewed, just places that we want to return to again and again, and that we think that you will, too.

    42. Kokomo

    What is it? One of a few spots here that also appeared on our best restaurants of 2020 roundup, Kokomo is a Caribbean restaurant from husband and wife team Ria and Kevol Graham.

    Why we love it? As we wrote at the time, Kokomo's wood-fired flatbreads, slow braised oxtail and chicken and waffles are all bonafide comfort foods. The restaurant interior's warm tones and florid design further set the mood, and we recently named Kokomo NYC's best outdoor dining spot in our Best of the City awards. 

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    December 21, 2023

    New York City is one of the most romantic cities in the world, hands down. Here's where to go for a date night with that special someone!

    There's so much to do in NYC with a significant other, from a fine dining experience, to spending an intimate day with famous artwork, or even just sitting on a park bench at Washington Square Park. Our favorite thing, however, is food.

    Even Disney's Lady and the Tramp told us as children that food is the way to a loved one's heart (especially pasta)!

    So in the spirit of love and food, we've put together some of the city's most romantic restaurants (both indoor and outdoor) perfect for date night. Enjoy these ideas and get your reservations going ahead of time:

    7. Kokomo, Williamsburg
    How romantic are these glittering curtains of lights at this Caribbean spot in Williamsburg? Choose from flatbreads, succulent meats, comforting starches and decadent desserts with beautiful presentation, plus refreshing cocktails and house-made elixirs from acclaimed mixologist and beverage consultant Rael Petit in the beautiful heated space.

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    October 13, 2023

    Chef Kadri Hajdaraj, of Kokomo NYC and Oxkale NYC, joined Cheddar News in studio to showcase some of his favorite Caribbean cuisines.

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    September 4, 2023

    Ria and Kevol Graham are a match made in culinary heaven!

    The couple met through their careers in hospitality and fell in love while traveling the Caribbean, later inspiring them to combine their expertise to create a place that captured the backdrop of their love story: Kokomo.

    Prior to opening their Williamsburg eatery, Kevol worked as a roving chef and Ria specialized in restaurant marketing.

    "My niche is just coming up with creative, different and exciting food and putting together things that aren't normally paired," Kevol exclusively tells OK! "So, when I was a part of a group of chefs when I started my culinary journey, I pretty much learned a lot from them. I was cooking in the house and at events, and everything was pretty much on the fly."

    The husband and wife duo now juggle being parents to three children, managing Kokomo and married life.

    "It's been a lot of work, a lot of stress because we had to just have to find balance," Kevol admits. "We have to find the time to be husband and wife, be parents [and make] time for our individual space as well."

    "I believe we're able to run the company more efficiently because we're husband and wife and we know each other's strong points and we know each other's weaknesses," Ria explains. "We also know how to push each other sometimes a little bit too much, because we want to see the best for the company and we take the job home with us because of that, during times when we probably should and shouldn't."

    Although Kokomo opened its doors during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community it serves continues to celebrate them and it's managed to cement its place within the famous borough.

    "People have now made this a part of the stuff that they do in Brooklyn," Kevol shares. "It also is it brings more visibility to Brooklyn and it just uplifts the whole neighborhood."

    "Kokomo represents what Brooklyn really is. It's a place that's full of culture and a place that's full of vibes and excitement," he adds.

    Guests are able to feel the energy of the West Indies upon entering the location. Diners are able to sip on a D'usse colada while dancehall, reggae and other genres from the region play.

    "I just want everyone to come in and have fun," Ria gushes. "I want them to feel like they're transported to the Caribbean and have a painkiller, leave their worries at the door, listen to the Caribbean music. And I feel like there's no way you can come into Kokomo and not have a great time!"

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    April 8, 2023

    Long since the time when COVID-19 killed 800 New York City residents in a day,  monuments to the pandemic's hellish early months stand proudly, or stubbornly, on sidewalks and in streets.

    These enclosed outdoor dining sheds are now mostly dilapidated eyesores.

    But a precious few reflect not only the desperation of the time, when every restaurant struggled to survive, but also the Big Apple's fabled resilience and creative spirit in the face of catastrophe.

    Which is why the charming alfresco setups at Fresco by Scotto, Indochine and Fairfax Cafe, among others, deserve a pass from upcoming city rules that will likely wipe out the handful of remaining beauties — along with those thousands of shanty-town shacks.

    If our elected leaders have any sense of style or appreciation for history, they'll let the Landmarks Preservation Commission  choose the ones to be grandfathered for future generations to enjoy.

    Another option: tap the Regional Plan Association's Alfresco NYC Coalition, which in 2021 cited several outdoor sheds in all five boroughs for their spirited designs.

    Among them was Kokomo at 65 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn for "transporting you to the Caribbean."

    All of the 13,000-odd enclosed sheds, wonderful and woeful, are in a twilight phase since the City Council began weighing their future last year.

    The Council and the mayor's office are negotiating in secrecy, but they're expected to impose uniform design guidelines — if they don't outlaw enclosed sheds entirely.

    Most so-called "streeteries" long ago outlived their usefulness. Many made of plywood are visibly rotting.

    But nobody really knows what the city will do.

    For example, will they be allowed year-round or only in summer?

    One loud,  unconfirmed rumor is that future structures may not use wood — which is what  most sheds are made from.

    New Yorkers love and loathe outdoor eating sheds for multiple reasons.

    Auto-haters want them all to stand forever, no matter how ugly, because they take away parking spaces.

    NIMBY types want them leveled to eliminate noise,  vermin and crime.

    But it's hard to find a reason to complain where owners spent small fortunes to keep their places afloat with inventive, comfortable and smartly-crafted enclosed cabins.

    Fresco by Scotto's fanciful evocation of subtropical Capri at 34 E. 52nd St. went up in June 2021.

    Lemon trees, colorful lights and nighttime music drew customers when East Midtown was a ghost town.

    Even when indoor dining resumed at 25 percent capacity in February 2021,  owners Elaina and Rosanna Scotto were ready to give up.

    "There was  "NOBODY here," Rosanna recalled.

    "My sister and I were like, 'We have only one last opportunity to save the restaurant.' We hired an event planner, Lawrence Scott. We told him, let's make it a party. Like Italy without getting on a plane."

    The $150,000 installation cost and monthly upkeep expenses were dear, but they kept Fresco from going under.

    More than two years later, Freco's 100 outdoor seats remain full even though few customers any longer fear indoor dining.

    The Fresco frenzy brought life back to a sleepy block. Mitch Rudin, the CEO of commercial real estate brokerage Savills, made the alfresco Fresco his regular lunch spot and reeled in everyone he could to join him.

    "I always booked a table for four with an empty seat," Rudin said, and would sometimes "literally flag people down in the street to join us."

    Indochine, the perpetually popular French-Vietnamese celebrity-magnet at 430 Lafayette St., was reeling as well when the state shut down indoor dining for a second time in December 2020.

    It struggled to lure customers even when it reopened, also at low capacity, in March 2021.

    So it rolled the dice on an enclosed sidewalk simulation of Indochine's romantic  interior.

    Co-owner and manager Jean-Marc Houmard said the $80,000 buildout with southeast Asian plants, banana-leaf wallpaper and striped-fabric cushions was an immediate hit.

    "I tried to bring what people enjoyed about the dining room but with a more summery feel," he said.

    Designer CW Stockwell had just come up with fabric whose motif featured  the same banana leaves as the [indoor] wallpaper," Houmard recalled. "Most importantly, I made sure the lighting was as moody and flattering as it is inside."

    For nearby resident Jade Beguelin, co-founder of skin-care products brand 4amskin, Indochine's cabin is not about safety, but the scene.

    "It has some of the best people-watching," she said of the sidewalk's colorful passing parade.

    Outdoor sheds are "one of the few upsides of the pandemic," she continued. "It would be a great harm to lose them."

    The clean-lined, metal-and-plexiglass street cabin in front of Donohue's Steak House at 845 Lexington Ave. was a lifeline, not only to owner Maureen Donohue-Peters, but also to locals for whom the 1950-vintage restaurant was a second home.

    "If I didn't have outdoor seating I would have gone out of business," Donohue-Peters said.

    Celebrity customers such as Jimmy Fallon decamped to the Hamptons and elsewhere, but Donohue's was sorely missed by many without the resources to flee.

    Donohue-Peters' $40,000 investment on 14 tables, each with its own heater,  drew back locals such as Trudy Lampert, a customer of 40 years who lives across the street.

    Like many of us, Lampert was starved for social contact during the "six feet of separation" days.

    "I was comfortable eating out there," she said. A tennis fan, Lampert had long enjoyed watching matches on the television over Donohe's front bar, which was no longer accessible.

    There was no outdoor TV, but, "Maureen set up her computer in the shed and I could watch it on the computer," she said gratefully.

    Tribeca's film-star residents abandoned the area during lockdowns, but there were still plenty of locals left  behind who craved the regional Indian cuisine at massive Tamarind Tribeca at 99 Hudson St.

    Owner Avtar Walia knew that many others were putting up rickety, makeshift cabins.  "But I said, I'm going to take this to a different level."

    He also noticed "people putting in all kinds of things like cabanas in front of Restaurant Daniel." (Those are long gone.)

    Walia spent  $135,000 to set up a  complex of outdoor rooms on the restaurant's Hudson and Franklin Street sides.

    Walia struggled with ever-changing regulations and disruptive street excavations for utilities work. But his 120 "outdoor" seats are nearly as popular as Tamarind's 175 spots indoors.

    "Some people are still concerned about COVID, especially elderly people," Walia said. The little outdoor rooms are cozily decorated and softened with tablecloths to give a taste of the indoor room's elegance.

    Italian favorite Don Angie at 103 Greenwich Ave., tapped GRT Architects in late 2020 to devise outdoor cabins with the same mood as the dining room.

    Velvet curtains keep things private. The cabins' red glow after dark beckoned New Yorkers eager to escape the pandemic's grip in the near-desolate West Village.

    Famously eye-catching, canvas-tent "yurts" stand in front of Gabriel Stulman's  Fairfax Cafe at 234 West Fourth Street.

    Despite seating only a handful of customers, they epitomized the restaurant world's heart-lifting effort to bring cheer to a shattered city.

    Their Arabian Nights flair earned them the No. 1 spot in a New York Post poll of favorite outdoor venues in December 2020.

    Stulman believes outdoor structures should be kept, "not as a symbol of the city's resiliency, but because they represent a brilliant re-imagining of our streets. We should keep them because restaurants need these extra seats to better thrive in the current [economic] climate."

    Like most everyone  on all sides of the debate, Stulman believes that the sooner the new rules are announced, the better

    He blames the proliferation of so many poorly designed and un-maintained sheds on confusion over whether or not outdoor structures would be allowed permanently and what the rules around their long-term maintenance would be.

    "Many structures that weren't designed to last continue to hang on by threads due to operators' uncertainty to invest limited capital" without knowing whether it would pay off, Stulman said.

    New York City Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Rigie echoed the urgent need to clear the air.

    "It's past time to move on from the temporary emergency program and memorialize it with a permanent standardized system that showcases the best of sidewalk cafés and streeteries," he said.

    Kate Slevin, executive vice-president of the Regional Plan Association also   emphasized the "importance of getting a permanent program in place. It can retain some of the elements that make outdoor dining reflective of  neighborhoods and good design."

    But beware the politicians. Too much tinkering could sweep away the gems along with the rubble. What happened at two-Michelin-star Gabriel Kreuther on West 42nd Street is a warning.

    A lovely sidewalk "village" evoked  the restaurant's Alsatian inspirations. But while an alphabet soup of city agencies winked at crumbling and rat-infested sheds elsewhere, their ever-changing and contradictory diktats proved too much for Gabriel Kreuther.

    It took the installation down last year when the harassment became too much.

    We mustn't let that happen to the surviving sheds that not only fed us, but  inspired New Yorkers during the pandemic's worst days.

    Politicians and bureaucrats be advised: the people are watching what you do next.

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    February 20, 2023

    Kevol and Ria Graham share their remarkable journey of opening their Caribbean inspired restaurant four months into the COVID lockdown – and how it came to be one of the hottest restaurants in Brooklyn.

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    January 27, 2023

    When Ria Graham set out to create Kokomo with her husband Kevol their mission was to transport guests to the Caribbean without leaving Brooklyn. "The Caribbean is so versatile, and over hundreds of years has formed its own beautiful melting pot of cultures from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas," says Ria who, along with Kevol was raised in New York City and has deep Caribbean roots. (Her mother is from Trinidad. Her father hails from Grenada.) "The stories that we tell culturally and through our food are unique."

    Just across from the waterfront in Williamsburg, the decor and cuisine is thoughtfully curated. "Few people know the level of detail that went into designing and creating Kokomo," says Graham who shares that designer, Dara Young from The Aviva Collective, created Caribbean-inspired intimate dining spaces throughout.

    "The focal point of our main room is a communal table to welcome families, friends, and strangers to enjoy a Caribbean feast while overlooking our beautifully lit bamboo bar symbolizing positive energy and strength," says Ria. The main room also contains an intricate art installation, also designed by Young, that recreates a Caribbean village outfitted with miniature stores and people.

    Then there's a section called"Lovers Rock" containing two person swings hanging from the ceiling. "It ignites the feeling of an intimate Caribbean romance," says Ria. The back room was designed to embody the beauty and lushness of a Caribbean rainforest. "And our downstairs champagne room designed with colors of the Caribbean sea evokes an underwater glamorous cave experience," she adds. "We strived to hit all the marks of what makes the Caribbean so special."

    In addition to its design and dramatic waterfront views, the cuisine, which celebrates their Caribbean heritage, also makes Kokomo a standout. "We knew we wanted to design the menu to reflect our background and the many countries that influenced Caribbean culture as the legacy of colonization," says Ria.

    To that end, Ria points to the Wah Gwaan flatbread. "The crust is a traditional New York City brick oven crust, a nod to the community we grew up in," she says. "The base is a tomato confit which reflects the French influence in the Caribbean. The stars of the dish are sautéed jerk shrimp and ackee, a national fruit in Jamaica." That is topped off with a drizzle of cilantro sauce "It's our final nod to the Latin influence," she adds.

    In 2020, when Ria and Kev were originally set to open Kokomo it seemed like they were at the bottom of their proverbial Mount Everest trying to figure out how to scale the thing.

    Ria had spent her early career in marketing and sales for a local Caribbean restaurant. Kevol worked for many years curating dining experiences as part of a band of roving chefs. But neither of them had ever opened their own restaurant.

    "Our second child was due on March 21, 2020 and our restaurant was scheduled to open in April 2020," says Ria. That was until the pandemic shut everything down in March, 2020. Watching so many restaurants shutter, the couple was consistently told to close down that they would never make it.

    "We had invested our life savings and also enlisted our parents to invest in this venture. It was a huge bet on ourselves," says Ria who shares that their families were supportive of their goal of building generational wealth. At that point they realized they had to move forward despite all the obstacles.

    "That was the time to admit failure and sink into a depression. But we understood that we had few alternatives," says Ria. After overcoming the shock of Covid-19, they shared their story on social media and received an outpouring of positive encouragement. As first time restaurateurs, with zero understanding of how to operate during Covid-19, they opened Kokomo July 4, 2020.

    Opening a restaurant in any climate is hard. Then there's the pressure of opening your first restaurant. "Adding the pressure of Covid-19 took it to another level," says Ria. "There was an immense labor shortage, strenuous rules and regulations and the great unknown of what tomorrow would bring."

    Yet, despite the ever-changing regulations they were able to stay afloat. "We have a great team that we painstakingly grew," says Ria. "Their passion and commitment to Kokomo keep us humble."

    Not only did Kokomo survive, it thrived. "Every night is a celebration at Kokomo, which may be the pandemic's best scene restaurant," raved Pete Wells in his New York Times review. And the Kokomo continues to evolve and be the go-to destination for Caribbean cuisine.

    Meanwhile, Ria and Kevol remain in awe of the opportunity to share their passion in such a unique setting. "There is something about eating Caribbean food, sipping on a rum punch or pina colada, listening to Caribbean music, watching the sunset and feeling the breeze float off the water," she says about sitting outside on the patio in the warmer months. "You forget that you are in New York City for a couple of hours. It's priceless."

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    January 25, 2023

    Whether you're starting or scaling a business in 2023, this year is poised to challenge both new and veteran entrepreneurs.

    Insider surveyed 68 founders about their 2023 predictions, including the biggest business trends and the fastest-growing industries. We also asked what they thought the top challenges for entrepreneurs would be this year. While it's impossible to determine the future, their answers centered on how an unstable economy could affect essential business functions like funding, sales, and marketing.

    "With the shifting economy, many founders will feel uncertain in these tumultuous times," said Cynthia Plotch, a cofounder and CEO of the women's-health brand Stix.

    Here's what founders think the top five challenges for business owners in 2023 will be.

    1. Recession and economic uncertainty
    Henry Murray, a cofounder of Waterdrop, a beverage service

    "A top challenge we're already seeing, which will continue into 2023, is balancing the effects of a long-term bull market with the needs of investors, consumers, and industries."

    Ria Graham, a cofounder of Kokomo, a Caribbean restaurant

    "It's difficult to make sound decisions in a time of uncertainty. Inflation is through the roof and makes it difficult to provide a service and product at a reasonable price."

    Tim Dierckxsens, a cofounder of the Web3 company Venly

    "Growth forecasts will most likely be wrong, and businesses may falter under pressure. Finding the balance to grow while making sure they can survive will be key."

    Vic Drabicky, the founder and CEO of January Digital, a digital marketing agency

    "Uncertainty makes it almost impossible to plan long term with a high level of confidence. When the future is clearer, businesses make better investments and better decisions. When it's uncertain, businesses tend to pull back."

    Paige Enslow, the founder and CEO of Stewart Enslow, a sustainable clothing brand

    "With people needing to save their money to deal with rising costs of housing and basic necessities, it is harder for people to take a risk buying a new product from a brand they don't have experience with."

    2. Funding
    Hans Schrei, a cofounder of the cookie brand Wunderkeks

    "Funding will be a challenge across all verticals, mostly because investors are still writing off the failed bets from the 2020-2021 frenzy. Our understanding of what 'traction' means is changing, and so is our understanding of the founder-investor relationship. It will all be for the best, but still painful."

    Brian Meiggs, the founder of the media company My Millennial Guide

    "With so many companies competing for funding, it can be difficult to stand out and attract attention from potential investors. This means that founders will need to be creative in how they pitch their businesses and find ways to demonstrate the value that they offer."

    Sivan Baram, a cofounder of the social-shopping platform Radd

    "It looks like it will be harder to secure new investment rounds this year, but on the positive side, as one of my investors told me, it is a great opportunity for the good companies to stand out."

    Ashley Tyrner, the founder and CEO of FarmboxRx, a produce-delivery service

    "Venture-capital firms have closed their purses as they await to see what happens with the economy. Founders must have at least two years of runway in their bank account or pipeline. Gaining funding will be incredibly difficult the next 12 to 18 months, and valuations are starting to come more back down to earth."

    Julie Castro Abrams, the founder and CEO of the women's network How Women Lead

    "Founders are being asked to tighten up their valuations, and for some that will make future funding challenging."

    3. Marketing and customer acquisition
    Beatrice Dixon, a cofounder and the CEO of the feminine-care brand Honey Pot Company

    "Continued market saturation. Due to some of the value of a global pandemic, we see humans taking risks on developing brands and arguably being able to quickly go to market barring what would have normally been time and space restraints. I think there will be dilutive market saturation, and the challenge then becomes the ability to actively communicate your 'why' through undeveloped tactics or channels."

    Daphne Chen, a cofounder and co-CEO of TBD Health, a company that makes at-home STD/STI screening kits

    "It depends on stage and sector, but I think across the board the bar is going to be higher for demonstrating that customers actually want and need your product or service. Demonstrating durable value is going to be more important than ever."

    Jonathan Zacharias, a cofounder and the president of the marketing agency GR0

    "Acquiring new customers. After IOS14 privacy updates, social ads do not work like they used to, so founders need to get creative in how they are acquiring new customers."

    Gloria Chou, the founder and CEO of the advertising agency Gloria Chou PR

    "We have an oversaturation of content, so founders need to know how to leverage strategic messaging well, as it's not about creating more content. Consumers can also agree that we don't need more content, ideas, or strategies. What we need is connection and community. If you don't have a supportive and engaged community aspect to your business to build connections and allow people to feel seen, you're missing out on the ability to grow your business and impact."

    Payton Nyquvest, the founder and CEO of the psychedelics company Numinus

    "Finding your community — whether that's building the community within your employee team (which is likely composed of remote workers) or the community in your customer base. People are looking for connection, and I believe it's becoming harder to find."

    4. Hiring and retaining talent
    Lola Bakare, the founder and chief marketing officer of the marketing agency Be/co

    "Competition — more people unemployed means more people putting up shingles. I find this exciting. It'll only push us all to do our most authentic work."

    Matt Woodruff, a cofounder and chief product officer of the software-as-a-service company Constellation

    "As the job landscape continues to shift, especially in the tech industry, it's going to become increasingly important for companies to attract and retain quality talent. Founders should prioritize meeting and exceeding the needs of their talent to ensure that their workforce remains satisfied and secure."

    Kimberly Lee Minor, the founder and CEO of the consulting firm Bumbershoot

    "Finding and retaining talent, especially if they haven't created a strategy for attracting a diverse talent pool and they have not done the work to create a productive, inclusive, and welcoming culture."

    Ariela Safira, the founder and CEO of the mental-wellness startup Real

    "Building and growing effective teams. 2022's economy and its resulting layoffs resulted in broken trust amidst employees — when we combine this with the remote world, the collective trust and determination a startup needs to grow and succeed will be hard to create in 2023."

    5. Brand transparency and sustainability
    Dee C. Marshall, the founder and CEO of Diverse & Engaged, a training-and-development company

    "Founders will face challenges around sustainability and how they are meeting environmental, social, and corporate governance goals, which is a new requirement and path to scale as it is a major differentiator for businesses."

    Gayle Yelon, a cofounder and chief marketing officer of the jewelry brand Montserrat New York

    "I think communicating to customers and being transparent about business will be a challenge in a positive way. I'd like to see other companies open up about materials and best practices. It will open up the floor for conversations on how we can all do better."

    Katerina Schneider, the founder and CEO of Ritual, a company offering multivitamins and supplements

    "We often say that our industry has been asleep at the wheel on one of the biggest health crises of our time: climate change. We're starting to see consumers demand transparency and sustainable practices from companies. It's usually not cheap or easy to create a company centered around sustainability, but consumers are demanding it, and founders are going to need to find ways to work sustainably and provide transparency to their consumers."

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    January 14, 2022

    On paper, Kokomo is a Caribbean spot in Williamsburg where you can get pastas, flatbreads, and more topped with things like jerk chicken and oxtail. All of that is true—but it's also important to know that going to this place is just like attending a party. They run a KokoHour on Tues-Thurs from 5-7pm with discounted drinks and often have live DJs on weekends. Whenever the weather is warm and you're looking for an outdoor spot to get an exciting brunch, think of Kokomo.

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