Folasade Adeoso's bringing fast-casual African food to New York
Folasade Adeoso is a Nigerian-born entrepreneur, digital designer, influencer, and restauranteur based in New York City. She’s a founding partner at Teranga, a Pan-African fast-casual eatery in Harlem, New York.
How I got here.
I have just been consistently me, doing what I truly feel that my heart should be doing. Being Nigerian, it hasn’t always been easy for me. I guess people call me a bit of a rebel or a stubborn person because I refuse to do something that doesn’t feel like me. Originally, I was a graphic and web designer which led me to MySpace and creating a network there while I was in Toronto. Those friends were photographers and took my picture, which gave me some visibility and led me to create my own editorial website. I then started building website for other women entrepreneurs and also do graphic and digital collages on the side. Now, I'm focusing on the new restaurant, Teranga.
Why I cofounded Teranga and became a restauranteur.
Teranga is Senegalese, or Wolof word for hospitality. If you’ve ever been to Senegal, you’ll be familiar with this spirit of kindness and treating everyone like they’re your neighbor—that what Teranga means. We embody that in our restaurant with the way we treat people and also the physical space itself, and how welcoming it feels.
The restaurant opened in February and has been in the works for a couple of years now, from the idea phase to finding the space. We were approached by the African Center which is on 1280 5th Ave and part of Museum Mile. It feels like a really cool location for Teranga because it’s an iconic address right across the street from Central Park in Harlem, a heart of African culture.
We're doing something really different. Think: Sweetgreen, DigInn, or Chipotle for African food. You pick a base, your protein, and two sides. Everything is gluten-free and dairy-free. It’s also vegan except for the chicken and salmon, which is separate so if you don’t want that it’s very easy not to put it on your plate and to choose a vegan meal.
The concept of African food being vegan is kind of unheard of to Africans, but a lot of our food, especially West African food, is actually derived from eating plants and root vegetables, and it’s one of the healthiest diets in the world. It’s a different approach, a cleaner palate, but still authentic. Our food ranges from different countries throughout West Africa and we also have a Morroccan salmon dish.
How I use choose what to share on Instagram.
I try share a balance of personal and work on Instagram. I want to stay away from curation because it hinders me from showing those moments I really want to show. For that to happen, I have to take away thoughts about whether my engagement will dip because of a certain post. My boyfriend always reminds me that you’re not posting for people, you’re posting it for yourself. If only 10 other people like your photo, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter as long as you like it. I’ve been trying to take that approach and post what’s in my heart.