Happy Birthday to Me! Midtown Lunch turns 1 today…

And they said it would never last… actually- maybe they said my body would never last. My wife is certainly worried about me. I try to convince her it’s not that bad, but unfortunately she has an entire year of posts to back up her growing concern for my personal well being.

I have certainly eaten a lot of fattening food over the past year. It’s especially tough when you decide not to eat anything healthy (what can I say? I hate Midtown salad bars.) What started out as an excuse to eat gross lunches and take pictures of all my food has turned into something bigger than I ever imagined. The fact that thousands of people would actually read something that came out of my vacant head surprises me every day, and is a testament to how starved people are for new (and good) lunch options in Midtown.

When I first started Midtown Lunch, the premise was that there were no good lunch options in Midtown. But it is pretty clear, after a year of doing this, that there are actually some amazing lunch options in Midtown- and new places are opening up all the time. And there is only one thing keeping you from those great lunches (while simulatneously keeping crappy Midtown delis in business)… laziness. There’s no excuse for eating a bad lunch. You’ve got plenty of options.

Here’s some of my favorite posts and pictures from the past year of Midtown Lunch’ing…

6.7.06 — The First Post Goes Up. “Navigating a Wasteland

6.12.06 — My “love affair” with Chipotle Begins. Part of the reason I started Midtown Lunch was over my disbelief at how excited my office was for the opening of the new Chipotle downstairs in our building. It was very disheartening…

The falafel deal at Kosher Deluxe

6.19.06 — Week 3 of Midtown Lunch was dubbed “Falafel Week“. I reviewed House of Pita, Moshe’s, Kwik Meal, Bread & Olive, and Aron’s (R.I.P.). Kwik Meal was dubbed the winner, but it wasn’t until months later that I would discover the amazing Falafel deal at Kosher Deluxe.

6.27.06 — I review my first, and last, salad bar. The one at Variety Cafe. 3 weeks later they would be closed by the DOH, and I would never go back to Variety again. I know it’s hypocritical though. If one of the ethnic places I love got closed by the DOH (Hing Won, I’m looking in your general direction), I probably would still go back.

6.29.06 — The Kati Roll revolution begins. I don’t think I need to write anymore about this place. It’s the most read post on Midtown Lunch, by far.

More Chipotle madness, the plantain stuffed burrito, fried chicken and waffles, and my favorite Midtown Lunch post of all time- after the jump…

7.18.06 — Chipotle finally opens to total pandemonium. My favorite was watching guys in suits, who probably make 6 figures, waiting an hour for a free burrito. You would think their time would be worth more than the $8. That was the last time I had Chipotle. I’m trying to go a whole year without giving in to the urge. 5 weeks left to go…

8.3.06 — I discover the Korean food at Cafe Duke. It becomes my new Variety Cafe- and signals the start of the Korean food invasion of Midtown delis.

9.20.06 — The first Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er Goes up. Harry.


10.4-5.06 — I write about the Cyber Cafe, an internet cafe that is home to two of the coolest hidden treasures of Midtown Lunching: The Tuck Shop & Madeleine the Crepe Lady

11.13.06 — The first Midtown Lunch Expose. I discover the massive fake shrimp scam at Midtown Delis, and give my tips for beating the By the Lb. Buffets.

12.11.06 — I discover the beauty of The Bread Market Cafe, a place willing to put fried plantains in a burrito.

12.15.06 — Easily the grossest thing I’ve eaten since starting this blog. The banana sushi roll.

1.18.07 — First mention of the Bulgogi Cart on 49th St. The $1 Bulgogi Sandwich ends up being the biggest Midtown Lunch disappointment of all time.

2.5.07 — Harlem comes to Midtown… in the form of Ressie Mae’s Soul to Go. There’s been some backlash of late… but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll get it back together.

2.14.07 — The very first Midtown Lunch Valentine’s Day Spectacular. I get called sexist. Good times!

A plate from Todai, the Japanese Buffet in Koreatown

3.7.07 — My all time favorite post. The Midtown Lunch Guide to Beating the All You Can Eat Buffet. A personal manifesto of sorts…

4.16.07 — After 10 months of doing this, I explore the loneliness of Midtown Lunch’ing.

4.18.07 — My first Subway Lunch. The F train takes me to the Manhattan Mall food court.

4.23.07 — The first sign of the Jamaican Food Cart on 51st.

4.26.07 — Midtown Lunch leaves Midtown for the first time ever. Live Photo Blogging lunch from the New Orleans Jazzfest.

5.23.07 — Midtown finally gets Banh Mi… sort of.

6.7.07 — Our First Anniversary!

Thanks for all the support. I only have an hour for lunch, and could have never found half the places I’ve written about without your emails. More than that, your comments make this site 10 times more useful than it would be with just my opinions. So please keep it up… and if you have a favorite lunch or post from the past year, feel free to share it as a comment below! Here’s to another year of surviving Midtown Lunch…


  • happy 1st birthday to midtownlunch. and thanks for today’s ‘best of’ post. this site has greatly enriched my working experience. i look forward to year 2 and more cheap eats. fantastic job, zach.

  • Happy Birthday to wonderful Midtown Lunch!!! Thank you Zach for the great infos! :o)

  • Don’t call my son’s head VACANT!!!!!


    Mom.  Please don’t comment on the blog.  It’s embarassing.  -zach

  • there was nothing after the jump… let’s have more!


    Sorry.  Site has been acting up, and half the post got deleted.  Should be fine now… -zach

  • First time poster and on your anniversary no less! I also eat in the lackluster hiterlands of 1221 avenue of the americas so am excited to read your blog. Just posted my discovery of the Chiyoda delivery guy on the Chiyoda page.

  • Happy birthday blog. I must have discovered it pretty early on, when I started wasting my life away in this area. Midtownlunch is a bright spot in my day.

  • This blog has changed my life! I laughed, I cried, I gained 10 pounds . . . and a new lease on life. The discovery of El Rincon by itself justifies the existence of the internet.

  • Midtown Lunch has changed my life! Or at least my lunching habits. Though I must say, don’t talk up Bread Market Cafe–it is the crappy, go-to deli in my building that the lazy people eat at, and other than fried plantains, they don’t have much going for them…

    Hooray for Midtown Lunch!

  • Congrats on one year! I read Midtown Lunch every day, sometimes two or three times a day, and it’s pretty much my favorite site relating to the city. Of course, being in the East 30s, I’m way too lazy to walk up to half the places and have yet to go anywhere on 41st except the Subway right next to Cafe Zaiya. Whoops.

  • Congrats on one year. It is a testament to the quality of your site — and to the arbritrary way I spend my downtime — that I’m a regular reader. Why? Because I almost always bring my lunch in. I use this site to eat out vicariously…

    Plus when I do eat out I want to make it count. Thanks to the site I have go-to options (43rd &5th triumverate, falafel week favorites, etc) and a long list of places I want to try (Kati, tacquria, etc).

    Long live the midtown lunch empire…

  • Congrats on the one year.

    Perhaps a special on where you ate your cake?

  • congrats, reading midtown lunch is part of my daily routine

  • Your site is one of the first sites I read on my bloglines when I get into work. Thanks for all the effort & time you put into making this site great!

  • another note of congrats! you do a fantastic job…add me to the list of people who bring home lunch but still read!

  • thanks for keeping such a great blog! I’m from Austin, TX and just recently made my first visit to NYC. I loved it and used your advice on a couple of places to eat! Thanks!

  • Keep up the great work. Remember: healthy is for sissies.

  • Congratulations! I read daily over my coffee and enjoy using your recommendations to plan for lunch.

  • yeah, i thought i was the only one who thought ressie mae’s was going down. what’s up with that? very disappointing.

  • i can recognize the first and third unlabeled pictures at the very top! roast pork with the skin from cafe cello, burger and fries from the le parker meridien burger joint!


    The second one is Corn Fritters from Mandler’s Sausage Co.  -zach

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