Coming Soon: Temple of Ankh at 58 Clinton Street

Posted on: January 10th, 2011 at 6:40 am by

As Clinton Street trades up to become the dining capital of the Lower East Side, mom-and-pops will continue to fall like dominoes.  Especially the upper reaches, where gentrification already has a substantial foothold.  The next tile on the edge, as it were, is situated in the single-story retail strip of 52-62 Clinton.  Although the commercial building remains a mixed bag of old and new business, it’s only a matter of time.  As it stands, two of seven storefronts are eateries – WD-50 and 1492.  And now another is on the way.

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58 Clinton Street itself was once the home of commercial printing company Angel San Juan Graphic, which closed over a year ago. But DOB permits filed November 24 indicated a conversion was afoot for a new “eating and drinking establishment.” In the ensuing six weeks, gut renovations proceeded with haste, and now the wooden interior is nearly complete. We stopped by the premises over the weekend for a closer look, and learned that Temple of Ankh is the forthcoming tenant.

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Once complete, the Egyptian restaurant-slash-hooka lounge will offer a menu of Middle Eastern fare, including homegrown humus. The owner informed us that Ankh will primarily operate as a nightspot, but will double as a cafe with free Wi-Fi during daytime hours.  Small-table dining dominates the main space, accompanied by a secluded balcony area designated for hookah smokers.  There is a bar in place with the intention of serving wine and beer, but that could take some time.  58 Clinton appeared on the November 2010 SLA docket, but was denied for being a no-show [PDF].

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But what’s most interesting about this particular site is that it was hosted the Odeon Theater.  Built in 1910 by architect Thomas W. Lamb, the three-story playhouse featured both Yiddish Vaudeville and motion pictures.  There were roughly 834 seats and a single screen.  According to Cinema Treasures, it lasted two decades before being demolished in 1932.  The row of retail seen today was built as replacement. Alas, no pictures of the Odeon!

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