By Danny Schrafel
With some familiar faces at the wheel, a new look and new businesses are coming to Huntington village’s Wall Street, a place known by many as the epicenter of the village’s top-flight dining district.
Where a cupcake chain once operated, a Japanese restaurant is coming. Work crews are hard at work putting together the new 11 Wall St. home of Osaka Japanese, which was displaced this spring by a fire that gutted its former home, on Main Street.
And where The Potting Shed once stood, at 4 Wall St., a new restaurant, by Spice Village Grill owner Tabassum Ali, is in the works – a complementary eatery to his existing authentic Indian locale, which he’s operated since late 2009.
Also in the works is a new nail salon, located at the former 26 Wall St. home of The Laughing Moon; and Ben Benharon is opening his second Salon Mayan location at 27 Wall, the former home of Lina’Z. His first Huntington salon, which opened in 2012, is located at 20 Clinton Ave. and will remain, Benharon said Monday.
But the most profound transformation began Monday at 10 Wall St., where crews prepped for the demolition of the former home of The Black Lantern. The tear-down will clear the way for a three-story, 8,000 square-foot building, with a restaurant proposed for the ground floor and two apartments each in the second and third floors above.
The building’s owner, Mary Smith, said community feedback for her plans has been strongly positive.
“Everybody has been so wonderful,” she said.
Smith, of Huntington, said she is hoping to have shovels in the ground for the new building by April 2015.
Not only will the building provide new retail and residential uses on Wall Street, the new structure at 10 Wall will serve as a brick-and-mortar tribute to her late husband, Richard, whose name will be etched into a brick on the third story.
Smith will also be paying tribute to the Huntington Fire Department through special design features to be incorporated near the building’s elevator. The building that was to be torn down Tuesday was the first Huntington Fire Department headquarters in 1889 until the department moved to Main Street in 1911. Recently, the building has fallen into disrepair, and historic preservation officials at Town Hall cleared the way for demolition after determining much of the historic value of the structure had diminished.
Still, before demolition, Huntington Fire Department officials collected items from the site for a museum exhibit, Smith said.
And when Christmastime comes, organizers of the annual Huntington Village Holiday Parade will take advantage of the open lot at 10 Wall St. for a little yuletide cheer. There, parade organizers and Smith confirmed the space will play host to the town’s Wall Street holiday tree, which will be illuminated upon the conclusion of the town’s annual lighted fire truck parade.
“The town and the community has been amazing with me,” Smith said. “It means everything to me.”