Your Last Midtown Lunch Before Passover (aka, the best bread in Midtown)

For practicing Jews, tonight at sundown is the start of Passover- the holiday that celebrates the time when the Jews escaped from slavery, and left Egypt so quickly that they didn’t allow for their bread to rise.   Little did they know, thousands of years later, tons of their relatives would have to commemorate this time by throwing away perfectly good bread, and eating crappy crackers for a week and half.

The part of the tradition I don’t understand is this…  The story doesn’t say the Jews were in such a rush they didn’t put yeast in their bread.  The way I understood it, they were in such a rush that they grabbed the already made bread, not allowing it time to rise.  So why can’t we eat bread with yeast in it, that just doesn’t rise that much.  Like delicious flat breads???  It’s because of this that I don’t celebrate Passover.  That, and I am a terrible Jew.  Sure I made a brisket for tonight, and my family is coming over to read the story, find some hidden Matzah, and drink a ton of wine… but after that I fully plan on eating bread the rest of the week.  I also wouldn’t want to disappoint the readers of Midtown Lunch with a week and a half of breadless posts.  That wouldn’t be right.  Yeah, that’s it.  I’m doing it for the blog…

But- in honor of the tradition, I’d like to present the Midtown Lunch guide to the best bread in Midtown.  For good Jews, use it to choose your final lunch before Passover.  It’s going to be the last bread you enjoy for awhile, so you might as well make it count.  For me, I figure if I am going to anger God, I might as well be eating good bread while I do it.

Kati Roll (46th btw. 5+6th).  They fry the paratha fresh on a giant skillet/frying pan right in front of your eyes.  Delicious!!!

The flat bread at Cosi (Multiple Locations).  I think this should be ok for Passover, since the bread doesn’t really rise that much!  But it’s not.  So even though they have salads, I would recommend that good Jews stay away from this place entirely during Passover.  The free bread bowl may be too much temptation for a good Jew to handle.

More bread porn, plus a list of Passover closings- after the jump…

Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck (Two Locations).  Pizza.  Bad.  Very bad (for Passover).

Milant Gourmet Deli (39th btw. 3+Lex).  I wouldn’t say the bread is particularly special, but it is easily my favorite sandwich place in Midtown.

Photo posted to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group by joshbousel

The biscuits at Popeye’s (40th btw. 7+8th).  I’m pretty sure the breading on the fried chicken is not acceptable either.  Get some shellfish (the very not kosher Popcorn Shrimp) fried up with that biscuit and then you’re really breaking the rules.


I thought I’d be able to depend on places like Kosher Deluxe or the Diamond Dairy to provide some good alternatives to bringing peanut butter and jelly on matzah to work- but no such luck.  They are all closed during Passover!  Also closed… Olympic Pita, Pick-a-Pita & Taam Tov.  I couldn’t get a hold of Moshe’s Falafel (it’s a cart), or House of Pita- but I’m pretty sure they are both closed as well.

Where can a brother get some matzah brie around here?  (Other than the overpriced Stage & Carnegie Delis).  Know of a good suggestion for Passover lunch?  Post it as a comment below for all the good Jews.  As for me-  I’ll be at Popeye’s.


  • Of course all of the Kosher places are closed – it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare themselves for Passover. Easier to just take the week off, since their religious customers won’t be there anyway. Moshe’s cart is definitely on vacation, and I would suspect House of Pita too.

    One exception to this is My most favorite dessert company on 45th just west of 6th. They closed last week, cleaned themselves out, and reopened selling truly Kosher for Passover desserts. They will be open during Passover, but not tomorrow or Wednesday, or next Monday or Tuesday.

    However, this restaurant definitely is too expensive to qualify for Midtown Lunch qualification.

    The only way to have matzah brie at work during Passover is to bring your own (the way I make it, it reheats quite nicely).

  • Being the good Catholic that I am, I decided today would be a good day to try a falafel at Moshe’s. I nearly cried when I walked over there and it was missing. I was hoping to make this my week to copy your midtown lunch falafel week. Determined, I walked over to Kosher Deluxe. Closed. That is when it dawned on me. DUH. Kwik Meal was there though, so I tried that one.

  • As long as it’s Jewish cuisine day…where can a brother get some decent chopped liver in midtown? Again, aside from the overpriced tourist delis. I love it as an add-on to deli sandwiches but it’s harder to find than you’d think.

  • “[If we left Egypt in haste such that bread could not rise] why can’t we eat bread with yeast in it, that just doesn’t rise that much[?]….It’s because of this that I don’t celebrate Passover. ”

    That is because you didn’t finish reading the story in Hebrew School! After Pharaoh lets the Hebrews leave Egypt, G-d tells Moses and Aaron that it shall be a law forever to keep Passover. “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; howbeit the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.” Exodus 12:15

    So, the answer to your question is “Because G-d made it a permanent ordinance.” Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of “what makes bread leavened?” I think to be safe, yeast is excluded, since the punishment is so severe.

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