Hidden Italian at Tuscany Catering

If you look at my Restaurant Index, it’s not hard to realize where my heart lies.  12 Japanese places, 9 Indian, 8 Korean, 6 Chinese.  What can I say?  I love Asian food.  Doesn’t matter what kind.  You email me about a new Asian place, I will be there the very next day with a camera (and bib) in hand, ready to check it out.  Italian, not so much.  There are only two Italian places listed, and one of them (Naples 45) was written about for their late afternoon pizza special.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like Italian food.  (Who doesn’t like Italian food?)  And if you want to talk about the actual food I ate when I visited Rome, Venice & Florence, I would even say I love Italian food.  What’s not to love?  But when it comes to Italian subs and Chicken parm, I could take it or leave it.

Now, let me clarify a little bit before the commentors go crazy.  I like a good chicken parm sub.  I’m a fat man.  I obviously don’t think there is anything wrong with taking a piece of chicken, covering it in bread crumbs, deep frying it and serving it on a gigantic roll covered in cheese and sauce.  It’s good.  I’m just saying, if given the choice for lunch, unlike most people, I would rather have any kind of Asian food (or Latin food, or street meat), before Italian.

That being said, the other day a couple of co-workers and I checked out an Italian place on 55th btw. 5+6th that piqued my interested enough to pull me in and get me to order.  Tuscany Catering.  Why, you ask?  Because it’s cheap, it’s sort of hidden, and even once you’re inside (and told you can order food by your co-worker)- you’re still not sure if you’re actually going to walk out with some lunch.

What they’ve got, and a +/- after the jump…

From the outside, you think Tuscany is just a catering company that is not open to the public.  The windows are practically covered in serving trays and catering junk, and even when you walk in there’s a bustle that is much more wholesale, than retail.  But I assure you, you can order food and take it to go.  Just walk in about 15 feet, and on your right is a long counter with things you can order for take out.  The menu is hand written in marker on the wall behind the counter.

They have a great list of 8 sandwiches, 6 hot sandwiches, ready made baked ziti and lasagna in large trays, and some pizzas.  There is also a list of 8 pastas that appear to be made to order.  All the sandwiches are $5.50 to $6.50 and the pastas are around the same, with a few costing $7+.  Not wanting to get embroiled in another Chicken Parm argument (ala Park Italian), I decided to go for the Eggplant parm.  They took two large scoops of ready made eggplant parm, popped it on a large roll, covered it in more cheese than you could possibly imagine and tossed it in the oven.

The thing was huge, and for $5.60- and incredible bargain.  It was a total mess, but tasty, and the bread was really good.  Oh, and did I mention the cheese?  It could only be described as a ridiculous amount.  One of my co-workers got the Chicken Parm, and said it was a B-, but I’ve heard that other people swear by it.  I’m not sure exactly what different people look for in their chicken parm, but for this one, they sliced the cutlet before putting it on the roll and saucing it- so I’m guessing that makes a difference.

My other co-worker got the roast beef with melted mozzarella hot sandwich, which was more like a New England steak and cheese.  Unlike the parm sandwiches, this one was served on what appeared to be garlic bread.  And by that I mean the bread seemed to be soaked with butter and garlic.  Wow.  I didn’t have a bite, but I’m assuming it was pretty good.

Anyway, I guess I just want to apologize to all you “normal” people out there, who love Italian food and have been waiting for more posts about Chicken Parm and the such.  This one is for you.  I’m pretty sure tomorrow’s post will be something from a cart, or Asian food.


  • Good Italian food, in a take-out setting
  • Super cheap by Midtown standards
  • Portions are pretty large for the price (compared to other Midtown places)
  • They don’t skimp on the cheese
  • It’s sort of hidden.  I like hidden places.


  • It’s a catering place so there is potential that some of the food has been sitting in steam trays for awhile
  • Everybody has different standards for Italian food.  You could easily not think this is the greatest place in the world, depending on your taste.

Tuscany Catering, 81 61 W. 55th St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-582-4421

For larger views of the pics in this post, and more pics from Tuscany, go to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Page


  • This place sounds like a less-expensive, hidden Mangia, which I think is a good thing.

  • I’ve walked by this place dozens of times, but I’ve never gone in. This, however, will change within the next week or so. Thanks for the tip!

  • First off, let me say it’s God’s work you’re doing with this website.

    Second, let me curse your name for sparking a chicken parm jones in me that a fruitless search for this place could in no way satisfy. There is no 81 W. 55th St. (the building on the corner is 77 W. 55th, and they only go down from there.

    A quick phone call to the place just said they’re at 65 EAST 55th St. — so between 5th and Madison. So I’ll have to try it another time. The chicken parm I picked up at Cafe Duke on the walk of defeat back to my office will have to serve as literal cold solace.

    But again, thanks for all of your hard work.


    You are right.  I had the address wrong.  It is actually 61 W. 55th St. (not 81)… but it is most definitely between 5th & 6th Ave. (not between Madison & 5th).  I called the number above and they confirmed the address as 61 W. 55th St. between 5th & 6th Ave. -zach

  • I also forgot to mention, they have delivery- but the prices on their delivery menu are higher then if you walk in and order off the board.


  • Midtown lunch effect? They also had really decent pizza in addition to my mozza, pesto, peppers sandwich.

  • Oh my lord, that’s a huge sandwich! I’m not really a small eater but that would definitely be two meals right there, sheesh. That cuts the cost of the sammy even further =D

    PS People ask me for restaurant recommendations all the damn time and say “Italian preferably” and I find it SO BORING. Not to be like, biased, because I LOVE Italian food – as you said, who doesn’t- but they want pasta places. I don’t know, it just rubs me the wrong way. I could go on and on but I’m sure already my comment will get some nasty responses so.

  • The address is 61 West 55th…caused for quite a bit of confusion on my attempt to find it today.

  • Tuscany is great. I’m in the camp that loves the chicken parm. Best by far I’ve found in Midtown, and as good as the best anywhere else. Pizza is pretty good too, with options for extra thick crust (though not really Chicago style). It’s not really Mangia-like, however. Much more of an old-school red sauce type place, though I have noticed lighter pasta fare in the cooler on the right as you enter.

  • Thanks for the clarification, SB. Much appreciated.

  • Thanks to the rec, I had penne a la vodka (hot, to order, not from the fridge). It was tasty & rich and a massive amount of food for $7.25. Much better than Cafe Metro’s pasta station.

  • A good chicken parm sub is one of the greatest foods out there, although for some reason the quality of most is completely sub-par. A good chicken parm sub requires all of its ingredients to be superior, most importantly the sauce but also the cheese and the seasoning and crustiness of the chicken. Also, good chicken parm (sub or otherwise) is never made in a deep fryer! Bread a pounded chicken breast and fry it in good olive oil in a pan and you’ll have something worth eating. Too many places try to pass off yesterday’s chicken fingers w/ canned marinara sauce and a slice of cheese as chicken parm. If anyone knows where to find a great chicken parm sub in the city please post it here, I’ve yet to find one!

  • They, as a rule dont eat italian-american food in Italy.

    It tends to be the original version that became morphed due to local and differant ethnic tastes.

    Ask for Spaghetti and Meat balls in Tuscany they will beat you to death with an Aubergene.

  • OK – good chicken parm, midtown: Nino’s (46th btw 5/6). Always consistently good, at least for the past 8 years. Sauce is right, chicken is always tender and not heavily breaded. Good personal pizza too (margherita, bianco, etc). Don’t get the pasta though – always overcooked. They cook it al dente, then wait for someone to order, cook it another 2 min and serve. Ruined every time.

  • Ok chic parm, good $ though…

  • yeah this was pretty average…

  • passed right by it too last week!! Couldn’t find it and wound up trying the new Pret instead- oh wo is me ($8 lousy dry skinny sandwhich). But I found Tuscany today and tried the chick parm. I am in the camp that does not like their version. The price is right. There was practically no sauce on the sandwhich. But thanks for the mention of this place. It was fun watching them assemble their catering orders.

  • phenomenal chicken parm at Lazzara – 38th near 7th-8th, also, their sicilian pie is excellent

  • dynamite chicken parm hero — vinny vincenz 1st avenue b/t 13th and 14th. and only 7$ siciallian clices are great too, dont bother with reg. slices

    vinny’s got a truck outpost somewheres in midtown too

    ask for frsh mozzerella on also

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    i ordered the catering from tuscany catering for my office. the pizza was incredible. i got them to make full size versions of their personal pizzas, the spinach and mushroom killed it

  • Hey,guys,great to see people like our food!We are welcome everyone to our Facebook Fan Page !

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