Taste of the LES: Clinton Street Baking Company

Today we’re beginning a new series leading up to the Grand Street Settlement’s “Taste of the Lower East Side,” coming up at the end of the month. We’ll be profiling many of the restaurants taking part in the event’s 10th year celebration, on April 29th at the Puck Building. We’re beginning with one of the neighborhood’s most popular restaurants, the Clinton Street Baking Company.

Those legendary pancakes, waffles and biscuits have kept the crowds coming back for nearly a decade. Clinton Street co-owner DeDe Lahman told me there’s new hope for locals wary of braving those long Sunday morning lines. In a couple of weeks, they’ll be expanding their hours, staying open until 7 or 8 pm (right now the restaurant closes at 4 on Sundays).

Clinton Street Baking Company has been involved with the Taste of the LES almost from the beginning. They had just opened back in 2001 when the event was created. But they’ve been a fixture at the Taste ever since. This year, they’ll be serving up fried chicken bites and mini ice cream sandwiches.

While Clinton Street is best known for its brunches, their fried chicken & waffles are pretty famous in their own right. Lahman says there are two secrets to the recipe: (1) using high quality “Bo Bo” chickens and (2) marinating them for up to 48 hours in buttermilk. It just so happens there’s a whole chapter on fried chicken in the Clinton Street Baking Company Cookbook, due out in November (Little Brown & Company). If you can’t wait, however, the restaurant recently debuted “Fried Chicken & Waffle Wednesdays.” For $20, you also get a cold bottle of Rogue Chipotle Ale.

Lahman and her partner/husband, Neil Kleinberg, also run Community Food & Juice in Morningside Heights. She told me they’re always looking for more space on the Lower East Side. They’d be interested in expanding in their current location (if the opportunity arose) and have also considered opening up a separate restaurant somewhere else in the neighborhood. But Lahman says they’re in no rush – they want to make sure any new space “feels right.” In the meantime, we’ll all have to exercise a bit of patience waiting in line to devour those fluffy blueberry pancakes.

The Taste of the LES supports many of the Grand Street Settlement’s essential programs. If you’re interested in purchasing tickets to the event, you can visit their web site.

Coming up tomorrow, we profile A Casa Fox.