PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Matt”

Every Tuesday I turn over Midtown Lunch to a random worker, for their favorite places to eat lunch in Midtown.  After the commenting spree that Maressa endured last week, I’m surprised I could find anyone to be profiled.  Last week a request was made for a fat guy… so here’s Matt.  He doesn’t look fat, but he puts down the equivalent of *two* lunches a day. 

Name: Matt


Licensing & Footage Researcher

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
HBO Sports on 42nd & 6th.

Favorite Kind of Food:
Italian – favorite dish: Frutti di Mare. I will eat anything that has the ability to survive in water, and to me there is nothing like a bowl of fresh homemade pasta with quality parmesan reggiano. Throw some mussels, littleneck clams, sauteed calamari, lump crab meat and shrimp over linguine with a nice fra diavolo sauce and I’m in heaven.

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
I will eat anything you put in front of me. Live to eat, not eat to live mentality. The only thing that bothers me is small portions. I have a very fast metabolism and am very active, so I eat a lot – usually ordering 2 dishes and averaging $12-15 a day for lunch.

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
45th street between 5th and 6th ave. This street pretty much hits all of my needs, and does so in an enjoyable, affordable way. Kwik Meal Cart by the corner of 5th ave – much less crowded than the 6th Ave cart – for chicken over rice and a lamb pita ($11.50). Park Italian for chicken parm hero and a side of baked ziti ($7.00, great deal). Note: Little Italy Pizza does have a great variety of slices, but their CP hero is nowhere near as good as Park’s. Manhattan Cafe is probably my favorite food-by-the-pound stop for 2 reasons – better quality, and the food that is supposed to be hot, IS hot, what a concept (I believe $8/lb). Bread & Olive isn’t amazing, but since this is Lebanese food, at least it’s got a little twist to it. Chicken kebabs and Zaatar ($11.00). Ambrosia for Bi Bim Bap, tucked away in the back of this deli and as Zach has reported, is probably the best version you can get of this dish without going to Koreatown (too far for me). $6.95 for Bi Bim Bap plus I’ll get a little something from the food-by-the-pound trays for a solid $10.00 meal.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: We have a cafe for employees in our building, and the majority of people go down there every day for the convenience and fairly cheap price. I’m usually on my own, but I don’t mind because eating should be an adventure.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: I know it’s been said before on other profiles, but I have to go with Margon. I was born and raised in Miami and know good Cuban food, but having this place a few blocks away has definitely made the transition to New York easier this past year. Their staples are great, but I have to highly recommend their guanabana batido (a smoothie made with guanabana nectar and milk). If you’ve never had guanabana before, you’re in for a treat.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Key Largo/Key West. Forget the sun and relaxed lifestyle, I’d work here solely for the abundance of fresh seafood coming in off the boats every morning. I could eat cracked conch and a blackened dolphin sandwich every day for the rest of my life.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? I don’t think it’s been brought up before, but are there any options in midtown for authentic Peruvian cuisine? Even menupages doesn’t have anything. Authentic ceviche, anticuchos, Huancayo potatoes, Peruvian empanadas, chili chicken, and all the goodness that makes Peruvian food so perfect. Thanks!


Actually, in April I asked the same question at the end of another profile… but didn’t find one.  I think we’re out of luck.  But, if you want to post a good place for quantity (i.e. 2 lunch Midtown lunch’ing spots where you can stuff your face for under $12) feel free…

And, as always, if you have news, suggestions, or you want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er- email me at


  • Where is the article? Link?

  • So the day is nearly over, and no recommendations for either Peruvian food or a good 2-meal deal? Apparently neither menupages nor yelp list any Pervuain in midtown, so does anyone have a suggestion outside of midtown? Brooklyn ideas welcome as well.

  • The only Peruvian place I know of/I could come up with is Ruben’s Empanadas, and there aren’t any in midtown. I feel your pain though, Matt, I want Chacareros for lunch and I don’t think that’s a possibility for me… and I must say I’m clueless as far as two meal deals go. The only guy in my office who eats 2 lunches always gets this gross shrimp that smells like peanutbutter at 4pm everyday and I *don’t* recommend that.

  • Gross shrimp that smells like peanut butter? That sounds intriguing… is it the fake shrimp at the by the lb buffets that I wrote about months ago?

  • Pio Pio on the upper east side, like 90th and 1st.

  • Also for $12 at Cafe Zaiya you could get enough different stuff for it to be considered 2 lunches.

  • Thanks for the suggestion Vishal I’ll check out Pio Pio…I often go to Cafe Zaiya and Chiyoda and pick out 2-3 different things which has been working out well, prefer the quality at Chiyoda and the fact that it isn’t a mad house like Zaiya.

  • I have to admit, Zach, I never get too close when this guy’s second lunch rolls around. Its bad enough it stinks up our entire office with the smells of fish and peanutbutter for the rest of the afternoon. I only know its from some chinese place somewhere in the vicinity of Park ave in the 30s.

  • There are loads of Peruvian restaurants in Queens in Jackson Heights and Corona. I’ve never noticed empanadas on the menus of any of them, unfortunately.

    Pio Pio is mainly a place for rotisserie chicken, it looks like they’re opening up a place on 34th St east of 3rd Ave near Ali Baba Turkish.

    There’s a new ceviche bar called Crave on 2nd Ave near 50th St, but I don’t think it’s Peruvian and I doubt you’d get too much food for $15.

  • Anyone else thinking will & grace?

  • Just wanted to report back – I wound up meeting a friend for dinner in Greenpoint last night at Pio Pip Riko. Had the yuca (tasty, but not amazing), anticuchos (love a good cow heart), and a mixed ceviche – only complaint with the ceviche is that the menu said it also included octopus and clams, but there were none. Will head back some time, but first will check out some of the other spots you all recommended.

  • Also I think Flor de mayo is Peruvian-Chinese. There are at least 2 locations in Manahatta, maybe more.

  • I’ve been to Mancora in Brooklyn which was pretty good, but I just checked on menupages and it looks like it’s closed but that they also have an east village outpost – doesn’t have the best reviews though.

  • If you’re taking reccomendations for BK, Coco Roco in Park Slope throws down some decent (and fairly cheap) Peruvian (including empanadas on the appetizer menu).

  • bah to mahi-mahi. Eating flipper is funnier.

  • Empanada mama on 9th ave and 50th(?) street

  • Coco Roco = no good. If you’re ever in Park Slope, definitely don’t recommend it. There’s some other new Peruvian Chicken joint just down 5th that just opened up, though. Doesn’t help you out much in the lunch department, though – sorry.

  • I had great ceviche at Coco Roco on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens (is this location different from the Park Slope one you’re referring to?), and at Esperanto on Avenue C and 9th St.

  • New Peruvian Chicken place on 5th Ave in Park Slope = Pollo

    Delicious yuca frita!! Definitely worth checking out

  • Thank J Wo will definitely check that out

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