The Best in African Cuisine

Papaye may challenge your expectations - The New York Times



By Liz Robins and Marc Santora NY Times - Ghanaians who have settled in the Bronx — there are more than 16,000, according to the city — find themselves with a World Cup conundrum in the opening match, when Ghana meets the United States. Root for their beloved Black Stars? Or for the country that they now call home?

Ghana has knocked the United States out of the last two World Cups. For some in the Bronx, there is no debate. “We are going to beat them again, no matter what,” said Kwame Bonsu, the manager of Papaye Restaurant off East 183rd Street, a popular Ghanaian spot, which will broadcast the game on June 16. “It’s a done deal. Because we are better than them.”

Sam Ansah, a Ghanaian-American accountant who organizes regular weekend pickup games, plans to stop by Papaye but will mostly watch the World Cup at home with a group of Ghanaian friends. “We yell, we shout, we give our opinions, even if the coach doesn’t hear,” he said.

At 42, Mr. Ansah is both a player and an organizer of the games that begin at dawn on Saturdays and Sundays at the Macombs Dam Park turf field, across from Yankee Stadium. For three hours, about 50 men crowd the sideline to play, some of them former college players or former stars from Ghana in their 30s and 40s. It’s a popular pitch in the summer, with youth games that follow.

Some of the Ghanaian players said they planned to gather at Dred, a barbershop off East 174th Street, to watch the game while getting a haircut (a dangerous proposition). For others, the outcome of the opening match is a win-win.

“Those of us who are citizens, we are on the borderline,” Mr. Ansah said, adding that the United States team’s past could represent a psychological hindrance. “They are overdetermined,” Mr. Ansah said.

Papaye Restaurant 2300 Grand Concourse, Bronx; (718) 676-0771.


THE BRONX – The borough is home to a rising population of people from Ghana, and many of them are celebrating their culture at a restaurant in Belmont.
Papaye Restaurant is a like a second home to many Ghanaians, serving traditional spicy dishes that they eat with their hands just like they would in their home country.
The restaurant not only attracts Ghana regulars, but is also frequented by people of Caribbean, Spanish and Mexican descent. Manager Kwame Bonsu says that while Papaye is full of Ghana pride, he’s happy to be sharing the taste of his country with everyone in the Bronx.

Papaye Restaurant has two Bronx locations. One on East 183rd Street and the Grand Concourse, and the other on the Grand Concourse and McClellan Street.