Your Recession Stories: The Clinton Restaurant

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We've been bringing you the stories of the recession's impact on small businesses on the Lower East Side. The other day, I visited Pedro Vargas, the owner of the Clinton Restaurant, a fixture at the corner of Clinton and Houston for many years. Recently, his family was forced to put it up for sale. Pedro has lived on the Lower East Side for 27 years and has owned his restaurant for twelve. 

Pedro fought back tears as he told me he felt like selling was his only option after his profits dropped more than 50 percent in the last six months. Around the same time, the economy started tanking, and as we all know, food costs skyrocketed. He just didn't think passing along those higher prices to his customers was something he could do. Pedro told me he's dipped into his own pocket to keep the restaurant open, but if he does that much longer he'll lose everything.  The Clinton Restaurant has a lot of loyal customers — some eat his delicious Dominican food every day. It's a breath of fresh air on a stretch of Clinton Street that's dotted with trendy new restaurants and shops.

The restaurant is truly a family business. They all help manage the place, cook and wait tables. Pedro says he will look for another location because running a restaurant is all he knows but he is not optimistic that the economy will get any better in the next couple of years. 

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Owner Pedro Vargas at the Clinton Restaurant.

You can call 212.982.3222 for information about the sale of Clinton Restaurant.

If you or someone you know has a recession story, and would like to share it, please email us at: lodownny@gmail.com.

Posted by: Traven Rice

Suddenly, Summer in the Hood

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Although the spring blossoms are still in full force around the neighborhood, this weekend's high temps brought out the Tompkins Square Park sunbathers a little early.  Let's hope all that pasty-white skin didn't burn!

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The wait outside Clinton St. Baking Co. for Sunday morning brunch.  Is it really worth all that?

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Tulips and Daffodils line the busy handball courts on Houston and Allen.

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