Christopher Fehlinger and Jon Lipshutz have been slowly converting the rambling space that once housed Le Central, at 112 East Eighth Avenue, into a new restaurant, wine bar and design shop — all named Clyde. But the two are impatient to get guests in the door, so rather than wait until all of the remodeling is complete, Clyde will open in phases, beginning with the wine and snack service that kicked off last night.
"We're doing what we're calling our 'squishy' opening," Fehlinger explains, "because it's a really soft opening."
From 5 to 9:30 p.m. nightly, Clyde is now offering beer and wine, charcuterie plates and a selection of ten "snacks" ranging from $6 to $16. Happy hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m. with $5 glasses of wine, one or two of which will be "ringers," as Fehlinger calls the big-ticket pours available for the happy-hour price (you can check @mhclyde on Twitter for a list of the nightly offerings). He also notes that through Saturday, October 22, he'll have a short list of wines by the bottle for $25 — just mention that you read about it in Westword.
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Then on November 3, Clyde will begin full dinner service. The retail section of the project, which will sell home and kitchen decor, is complete, and Lipshutz, who is running this aspect of the business, is just waiting for his inventory to arrive. Because the former French restaurant was divided into several separate rooms, including a sun porch that still needs renovation, opening in phases will not present problems for guests or staff; it's simply a matter of continuing to expand once each room is ready.
Fehlinger initially signed a lease on the space in June; the main dining room and kitchen were the first spaces to be overhauled, and there's also a private dining space that small groups can reserve. The enclosed sun porch could be ready to go by November 3, but if not, it will be completed soon thereafter. The final phase will be the conversion of what was previously a sunken dining area next to the kitchen into a bar and lounge area with a chef's table immediately in front of the kitchen.
Gone are the colorful murals that marked the exterior of Le Central; those were painted over by the landlord before the lease for Clyde was signed. The entrance to the restaurant is still up a short flight of stairs at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Lincoln Street; there will also be a separate entrance for the design shop, which will sell furniture, kitchen wares and other household decor.