Welcome to the Brunch Bunch, where we go to some of the city’s hottest brunch spots and ask the crowds outside why, exactly, they are waiting in line. Today, Clinton Street Baking Co.[Photos: Jessica Lin]
For the past nine years, Clinton Street Baking Co. has been attracting throngs of hungry New Yorkers and out-of-towners on the weekends, who wait for seemingly unfathomable amounts of time to try the restaurant's serious comfort food brunch. On a rainy August Sunday at 1PM, the crowds milling outside included an IT professional, a stay at home mom, a student, a speech therapist and a personal assistant, many of whom were trying Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman's LES café for the very first time. Let's meet them, shall we?
Why are you waiting in line for brunch at Clinton Steet Baking Co.? We heard they have amazing pancakes.
How long have you been waiting? We just got here, they said the wait’s about an hour.
How long would you have to wait before deciding to go somewhere else? Well, we sort of committed the day to coming here. It’s been on our radar for a while, we knew there would be a wait so we’re okay with that.
What made you want to come here? Well, there aren’t that many good brunch places around, and we heard the food’s supposed to be great and not too expensive.
If the wait gets too long, do you have a back-up plan? Yeah, Katz’s.
Did you go out last night? We did, we went to Key Bar.
What are your plans for the rest of the day? We’re going to a free Chromeo concert at the Williamsburg waterfront. We’re prepared for rain.
Names: Kelly and Chris
Ages: 37 and 40
Profession: IT professional and stay-at-home mom
Why are you waiting in line for brunch at Clinton Street Baking Co.? Chris: Well, we’re in from out of town, first time here, and actually a bartender at the hotel we were at, the Trump SoHo, recommended it to us. I asked the bartender “where’s a good place for brunch?” because obviously New York’s a big brunch town or whatever, and he suggested we come here.
How long have you been waiting? Chris: An hour and a half? no, an hour. They said the wait would be an hour and a half, but it’s only been an hour.
How long would you have to wait before deciding to go somewhere else? Kelly: Probably about 30 minutes.
If the wait gets too long, do you have a back-up plan? Kelly: Frankies. I think that sounds like a good plan B.
What are your plans for the rest of the day? Chris: We don’t know. Just wandering the streets of New York City, I guess! No dinner plans yet, so I guess we’re just going to walk around and shop.
Where are the kids? Kelly: Back at home with my mom.
Profession: Applying for jobs as a speech therapist
Why are you waiting in line for brunch at Clinton Street Baking Co.? My friend recommended it, she said it was really good.
What did she say was good? She said that everything was good, so I’m just going to see what’s on the menu and hopefully look around to see what’s popular, and order that way.
How long have you been waiting? We actually just got here, they said it was going to be an hour wait.
How long would you have to wait before deciding to go somewhere else? Maybe an hour and a half?
If the wait gets too long, do you have a back-up plan? Yeah, as we were walking along, we saw a lot of nice brunch places on the block that we thought we would just walk back to if the wait got too long.
Who are you here with? My friend Claire, we’re friends from high school.
Did you guys go out last night? No, we actually went home last night at 9PM. We were so tired, we were walking around the whole day.
What are your plans for the rest of the day? I think we’re going to shop around in SoHo, I want to go to Top Shop and just look around.
Profession: Personal assistant
Why are you waiting in line for brunch at Clinton Street Baking Co.? A few friends of mine suggested having brunch here, and I live in the East Village, so it seemed like a good idea.
How long have you been waiting? Like five minutes, I just got here.
If the wait gets too long, do you have a back-up plan?I don’t know, but probably. As soon as my friends get here, I’m going to suggest one.
And who are your friends? Sarah is a friend of mine from California, who I grew up with, and she’s bringing her roommate, who I haven’t met.
What made you want to come here? My friends. Actually, they didn’t say anything. They said just said "let’s go here" and I said "that's fine." I don’t know much about this place.
Did you go out last night? No, I didn’t, had a quiet night. I needed it.
What are your plans for the rest of the day? I have a writing class I have to go to and then an art gallery opening.