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avatar for Jelena Pasic

Jelena Pasic

Harlem Shake Restaurant Group
Founder and CEO
Born and raised in Croatia, Jelena Pasic's journey to culinary came from her passion as a lover of food and travel. Jelena graduated at the top of her class with a Business degree from the University of Rijeka, Croatia and worked in the corporate sector for most of her post-graduate career before moving to the United States. 
 
Once in the United States, Jelena began a family and a family business - co-owning and operating three restaurants in Washington Heights, NY while raising two daughters. After nearly eight years of success, change came to Jelena's life and she found comfort in a new community -- Harlem, NY. Jelena fell in love with historical architecture, ground-breaking history and the intergenerational community members and realized the need for a great restaurant celebrating the culture of Harlem past, present and future. 
 
Jelena pulled in support from fellow Croatia friend and restaurant professional Emil Radoncic (Chief Operating Officer) to co-create Harlem Shake - a fast casual restaurant serving burgers, fries, shakes and good times - and two additional partners - Dennis Decker, Brand Manager and Dardra Coaxum, Partner & Social Media Manager to round out the team.
 
Jelena handles all administrative and leadership duties, interfaces with communications agency, community engagement, philanthropic partnerships and is the milkshake curator! Jelena has been honored by the MAMA Foundation and Harlem Chamber of Commerce. Since 2014, Jelena and her team have made Harlem Shake a formidable competitor to other burger focused restaurants (chains and stand-alone) with award-winning and critically-acclaimed menu selections and most importantly hiring from the marginalized community and creating a culture of inclusiveness - from in-store / off-site partnerships, programming, and staffing.
 
Jelena looks forward to taking Harlem Shake around the world in the near future while managing marriage and raising her three daughters. 
 
Jelena has been featured in a few national and international outlets including: 
Restaurant Business, Food & Wine, The Guardian, Edible Magazine Cosmopolitan.com
UptownMagazine.com, WPIX 11,and Tasting Panel - Profiles in Resilience.