Pure Food & Wine’s Matt Kenney Opening Free Foods NYC Today

Free Foods NYC, the brainchild of Chef Matt Kenney from Pure Food & Wine, is opening today on 45th btw. 5+6th.  They are putting the finishing touches on the place this morning, and plan on being open by Noon for lunch.  I caught a partial glimpse of the menu on the wall, and with Salads & Entrees all over $10, it looks like Midtown Lunch might be priced out of this one.  The sandwich menu was on the far wall, so I couldn’t see the prices… Either way, the place looks pretty nice and I’m sure will be a welcome addition to all the well paid Midtown’ers who are looking for a more upscale deli experience.

Any rich Midtown vegetarians or organic food enthusiasts want to be our guinea pigs?  Check it out and report back…


  • Dissapointing. An organic version of everything we hate about midtown sandwhich places. More than $5 for a 12 oz. soup!?!?! Every item on the menu of substance is more than $10. Booo!!! Matt Kenney is in today, and he looks REALLY on edge.

  • Matt Kenney must be on edge because the people making the salads can’t recognize any of the ingredients. No exaggeration–I ordered a salad with rosemary chicken, lemon chickpeas, sweet peppers, marcona almonds and pecorino, and the guy making my salad didn’t know what ANY of those items looked like. The guy didn’t even know the difference between arugula and the other lettuces, and had to ask which container held the balsamic vinegar (hint–it was right next to the olive oil). Still, the salad, while REALLY expensive, was very tasty, and surprisingly filling for its modest size. It’s a once-in-a-while place, not a go-to standard. Then again, if Kenney can’t train his staff, then it’ll be gone in a flash.

  • I went for lunch today. I agree the prices are pretty outrageous to pay every day for lunch, BUT the quality of the food is quite good, so in a way you are paying for what you get.

    They have the typical lunch time stuff, salads, soups and sandwiches.

    Soups are $6.75 for 16 oz. Not sure if this comes with a piece of bread or anything. They looked pretty good. I don’t think $6.75 for 16 oz. is that outrageous but maybe I’m just jaded.

    They have a sort of create your own salad bar–I say sort of because it is organized into “themes”. $11.25 for the salad with five toppings and a dressing. They aslo have premade salads, also $11.25. That’s what I ended up getting and it was really quite good–it had slow roasted chicken, shaved pecornio and pignoli. The chicken was really really tender and flavorful. It was also a pretty large salad but it doesn’t come with bread or anything. I think despite how tasty it was I certainly wouldn’t go and get this every day. MAYBE once a month if I was really looking to splurge.

    There is also a salad bar of prepared foods. There wasn’t much choice there but what was there looked really fresh and delicious for the most part (the salmon entree looked kinda sad). I think it is $5 per half pound.

    There was also a bakery. The desserts looked really tempting. They also had some prepackaged dessert stuff–brownies and the like, but they were vegan. The cookies and brownies are $2.75 each and the cakes and tarts are $4.75 per piece.

    There are also two types of sandwiches–presed and signature. The pressed looked to be pre-made. Didn’t see the “signatures” there but it doesn’t mean they aren’t pre-made as well, I may just have missed them. The pressed sandwiches looked pretty small and they range in price from 9.75-13.25 (most expensive was yellowfin tuna). The signatures are cheaper by a little, 8.75-13.75 (most expensive is the filet mignon).

    They also make smoothies and have fresh juices, though those seemed incredibly pricey to me, though admittedly I never buy those elsewhere anyway so I don’t really know how expensive they are relative to other places.

    So, basically, I would probably go back, but only if I felt I deserved to splurge a little or if I felt like I needed to detox from all the other unhealthy lunches I eat the rest of the time.

  • just walked down there to check out the hype, then beelined straight back out when i saw the uber-pretentious pretty people on wi-fi laptops and the impossible-to-read-even-at-a-squint menu scrawl. *yawn*
    i didn’t like the bustling sparkling counter vibe in there, either. i want the delicious food aromas to come wafting out the door and smack me in the face upon arrival. i want piping hot drool-worthy display entrees. i want bright colored signage and affordable smoothies. i want FREE SAMPLES, PEOPLE!!!

    i won’t be going back. :)

  • How was the selection at the prepared foods salad bar? Hot foods or cold only? I’m always looking for quality food-by-the-pound and $10/lb isn’t that much more than other higher quality selections like Dishes or Manhattan Cafe.

  • All the food was cold (I think it was on ice, actually, but I may be wrong about that). There was a selection of 6-8 things. There was some salmon, some rare tuna, a couscous salad with chickpeas, an artichoke salad (that looked really good), some asparagus and possibly some other stuff but I can’t recall what it was at the moment.

    Also, they were handing out samples of free smoothies and had some samples of the dessserts there as well. Hopefully that will continue for the rest of the week.

  • jaysus,mary and the gay one……war & peace about a sammich bar.

  • I had the free range chicken sandwich (#1 pressed sandwich) and it was quite good. But for $12, it just didn’t do it for me. There wasn’t enough chicken on it to be satisfying or filling. I would definitely go back, but probably infrequently due to the value of the meal.

  • I went there yesterday and got their brownie (“Dark Chocolate Hibiscus Brownie” with dried cherries and pistachio) and it was delicious. It did not taste vegan, that’s for sure. It looks too expensive for me, but if I were working in finance instead of publishing I might hit this place up pretty regularly.

  • Incredible! I think this place offers a nice selection that organic starved midtown has been waiting for. sure its a bit pricey but organic food is more money always. the soups are really tasty and no one is mentioning that you get a free item (tortilla chips, sunspire chocolate cranberries, sea chips etc) with your meal. I dont think there is a juice bar in new york where u can get an organic juice for under 6 dollars. For all of the vegans and vegetarians in midtown, this is a winner. my only suggestion would be to note which items are vegan on the menu board.

  • I love the place. Yes it is as expensive as Dishes just down the street but does not have that sugar in everything taste. And not hearing loud euro trash music while you are being handed 99 cents in change is worth an extra dollar to me.

  • Matthew Kenney is going bust once again. This place is horrible! Save your money, small portions , way over priced and the owner Peter is very rude. I work at the bank on the corner and thought it would be nice to have a new place come around but this place is a joke. GO TO DISHES if you want something good for lunch..

  • i work in the neighborhood and went in for lunch last week.
    i have been involved in the organic market for years as my upbringing was in portland, oregon…one of the most organic and sustainable cities in the country. i was so excited to finally have something organic in the area for lunch.

    the cold and unwelcoming environment, is just the start to a let down of a lunch experience in mid town manhattan. there is entirely too much of a selection to the point that your head spins looking at it all. ah the paradox of choice comes into play. salads starting at $10.75, organic or not, are just too much to swallow, no pun intended. back to that…organic or not….that is the question. the salmon for sure was not wild salmon as they claimed it was, i would bet anything on it…i am curious to know how everything can be organic and who regulates this….are we REALLY getting what we are paying for? i am going to start snooping on this a bit…i just do not buy it !!! and as for a matthew kenney project, i say enjoy it while you can cause this one will be up in smoke as all the other ones before it.

  • If you read the menu – only the things that are indicated as organic are ACTUALLY organic. Basically only a few items are organic in this place!!

  • Mike
    You’re incorrect. There is nothing on the menu that indicates that. Everything is organic whenever possible. Be careful with your assumptions. In fact, this store has a higher ratio or organic to non-organic products than anything in Midtown.

  • The menu gives the average uneducated consumer the wrong assumption that the items in the menu are organic. The comment “everything is organic whenever possible” is a JOKE hahaha, however, great sales tactic!

  • Mike, you’re a joke.

  • That other Mike probably works there slinging that overpriced crap! “everything is organic whenever possible” is joke! you’re better off going to Dishes!

  • Great Fair Trade Coffee with Stevia. You want your caffeine boost, this is much better than bitter Starbucks and other overpriced coffee experiences.

  • I went in a few weeks ago and got the roast chicken salad that pumpkinette described. It was delicious – the chicken was perfect and the greens were fresh and had flavor (I forget that salad greens can have flavor after eating salad bar romaine for too long!). Organic vs. non organic aside, the food is high quality and if I’m treating myself I might go back.

    I have the same complaints about the cold feeling to the place and how rude the owner/manager was. On the day I was there, the cashiers were slow and the line backed up. I’m hoping that they’ll warm up once they get the staff trained and things really flowing.

    So yes, the food was tasty and was really appetizing, but I won’t be a regular here.

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