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April 8, 2013

PRESS RELEASE April 8, 2013

For Immediate Release

Alvin & Friends Moves to New Location

Casual Elegance, Contemporary Cuisine with Southern, Caribbean Flavors

The popular restaurant Alvin & Friends – Zagat rated 26 for food, 26 for décor and 26 for service, and named by Westchester Magazine as one of  the “Best New Restaurants” in 2011 – is opening in a new, larger location at 14 Memorial Highway.

Alvin & Friends is taking its relaxed, urban, upscale ambience to a larger space that offers enhanced bar seating for casual dining and a stylish main dining room as well as a separate dining room for private parties, corporate meetings and special events.

The menu will continue to feature favorites like Jerk Chicken Wings, “the Best Fried Chicken in Westchester,” Cornmeal Crusted Fried Oysters and Jerk Rubbed Duck Breast with a Port Wine Reduction  – all of which helped the restaurant earn a “Don’t

Miss” rating from The New York Times -- while continually adding new surprises. (For example, beginning April 24th Alvin & Friends will be serving lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and adding a late-night bar menu for small plates after 10 pm.)

The staff at Alvin & Friends includes
Rudy Tessema, Executive Chef Maurice Major,
Food and Beverage Director Antonio Flores,
with owners Gwen and Alvin Clayton
Photo credit: Theresa Kump Leghorn

Alvin & Friends relied on its original designer, Lesly Zamor of Seed Design Solutions, to create an elegant space that highlights the stunning, Matisse-inspired oil paintings created by owner Alvin Clayton, part of the restaurant’s signature look. And Chef Maurice Major, who has been leading the kitchen since June 2012, has worked with Director of Food and Beverage Antonio Flores to develop a lunch menu that features the restaurant’s flavors in new ways, like a Catfish Po’Boy and Caesar Salad with Jerk Shrimp as well as a lunch-sized portion of the restaurant’s renowned Fried Chicken.  Major’s resume includes the Larchmont Avenue Oyster House and Pelham Country Club, while Flores, who was classically trained at the French Culinary Institute, previously worked at the St. Regis Hotel and Del Posto.

The main dining room features
distinctive chandeliers and highlights
owner Alvin Clayton’s paintings
Photo credit: Theresa Kump Leghorn

“We’re very excited about the new location,” says Alvin Clayton, “because it will give us the flexibility to offer our customers more options. They can enjoy our full menu in the dining room, but they can also just have a nice glass of wine and a quick bite at the bar before a show at the New Rochelle Public Library or after the movies. And we can now host corporate events and private parties in the private dining room, which seats up to 80 and can be arranged for meetings, private dinner parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, bridal showers and more.”

Located across Memorial Highway from the New Rochelle Public Library, Alvin & Friends offers plenty of parking in the municipal lot adjacent to the library as well as the covered parking next to the Avalon apartments.

Alvin & Friends is open Tuesdays through Sundays for Dinner from 5 to 11 pm; beginning April 24th it will also be open for Lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Call (914) 654-6549 for reservations. And visit the restaurant online at

Biography: Owner Alvin Clayton

Alvin Clayton has dreamed of opening his own restaurant ever since working at L.A.’s Georgia in the 1990s. That upscale Melrose Avenue eatery – opened by L.A. Lakers star Norm Nixon with The Roxbury’s Brad Johnson – attracted a star-studded crowd with its “southern bistro” cuisine. Clayton has tweaked that idea with Alvin & Friends, which offers contemporary cuisine with both Caribbean and Southern flavors.

The painter/model/restaurateur came to the U.S. as an athlete: Recruited by Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland, he attended on a full academic and athletic scholarship, but his plans to play professionally folded along with the North American Soccer League.  At the suggestion of a friend in the business, Clayton visited the Wilhelmina modeling agency in New York, and his clean-cut good lucks landed him jobs for major fashion magazines like GQ, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Glamour and Self. His work took him all over the world, and it was while living in Paris that he taught himself to paint. His biggest influence was Henri Matisse, whose paintings he studied intently – and whose bright color palette reminded him of home. Today his vivid paintings are featured on the walls of Alvin & Friends as well as the homes of celebrity collectors like Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Robert De Niro, and Don Cheadle. (To see more of Clayton’s art visit his website, )

Alvin and Gwen Clayton,
owners of Alvin & Friends
Photo credit: Theresa Kump Leghorn

After moving to New Rochelle with his wife, Gwen, and their three children, Clayton dove into the community, volunteering at his children’s schools and becoming active with local non-profits including the Partnership for the Huguenot Children’s Library, the Westchester Children’s Museum and Let’s Get Ready!, which mentors college-bound students from disadvantaged backgrounds.  To make his restaurant dream happen Clayton put together a group of investors – the “Friends” of the restaurant’s name – that reflects the diversity of New Rochelle. ”They invested in the concept and our community,” says Clayton, who sees the same energy in the customers drawn to the restaurant’s sophisticated urban vibe.

But it’s not just the atmosphere, or the paintings  -- or the mouthwatering menu  – that keep customers coming back to Alvin & Friends: Clayton is an engaging and genuine host. "The restaurant is really an extension of my home: I want people to feel welcome from the moment they step through that door.  I know that people have choices, and I'm genuinely honored that they choose to be with us, and I make sure they know I appreciate it,' he says.

PRESS CONTACT: Theresa Kump Leghorn, 914-654-8356 or email

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