Me Gusta Este Blimpie! (That’s right. I’m writing about Blimpie.)

***This Blimpie Location is Now Closed, but the Latin Food can now be found in the newsstand next door***

Latin food (and Korean food) seems to pop up in the strangest places in Midtown.  Delis (like Utopia Cafe on 56th btw. 5+6th), Pizza parlors like La Strada (on 56th btw. Lex+3rd), and I’ve even seen a lady selling homemade Latin food out of a grocery basket on 46th. btw. 5+6th.  But all of those pale in comparison to what I discovered the other day.  Latin food inside a Blimpie.

That’s right.  Blimpie.  The sub chain.  The place I would never step foot into in a million years… unless I saw a sign for Latin food.  Imagine my surprise when I saw such a sign while walking down 6th Ave. the other day.  Spanish Food.  Right there in neon.  For $5.50. How could I not?

Photos that prove I entered a Blimpie, what they had, and a +/-, after the jump…

Unlike alot of fast food places today, which are owned by one centralized company, Blimpie is still a franchise.  And apparently, franchise owners are allowed to do whatever they want with their Blimpie.  This particular owner, who has been at this location for 6 years, decided early on that the rent was to high to be supported by Blimpie lovers alone, and added Pizza and Latin Food to his menu.

It’s surreal enough being inside a disgusting Blimpie that looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since 1983.  Add various meats served with rice and beans and it feels even weirder.  The line of people seemed pretty constant though, making me a little more comfortable.  The Latin food station easily eclipsed the popularity of both the Blimpie and Pizza stations combined.

For $5.50 you get your choice of meat, with a choice of rice (white or yellow), and a choice of beans (black or pinto).  For 60 cents more, you can get fried plantains.  Not including plantains automatically would be an objectionable practice if the whole meal didn’t cost $6.10 altogether.  They had the standard grouping of assorted meats, including roast chicken, stewed chicken, bbq chicken, fried chicken, roast pork, stewed pork, pork chops, beefsteak, beef stew and the obligatory pigs feet.  Not a bad selection. 

If you can’t decide they will happily give you a little bit of two different things.  I went with the roast pork, and stewed pork with yellow rice, black beans and of course, the 60 cent plantains.

Overall the taste was pretty delicious.  The yellow rice was especially flavorful (you may say the secret ingredient is salt) and the roast pork was not especially dry, which is always a concern at these places.  The stewed pork was delicious, but it was a lot of bones and fat.  Not entirely surprising for $5.50, but I’m sure there were better scoops of pork in that container.  I was a little unlucky with the spoonful I got.

My co-worker got chicken on the bone, roasted in sauce- resulting in an incredibly flavorful, and tender piece of chicken.

The plantains were hit or miss.  A couple bites were decently ripe, and a couple not so much.  With plantains, it’s always a crap-shoot, but at least these only cost 60 cents, and they give you a decent amount.

All in all a pretty great find.  Sure the place is dirty, they serve mediocre subs and when someone asks “Where did you get lunch today?” you’re half forced to say “Blimpie”.  But the Latin food is good, and cheap.  In other words, it’s the perfect Midtown Lunch.

THE +

  • Super cheap Latin Food
  • Great selection for such a small place
  • The rice was especially flavorful and delicious (much better than it looked)

THE -

  • Eating here forces you to step into a Blimpie 
  • It’s on $5.50 so you’re not getting the best cuts of meat.  Stick with the chicken, if fat grosses you out
  • The food is super greasy
  • They charge you extra for fried plantains (which are not always ripe enough)
  • It seems pretty dirty

Blimpie, 1015 6th Ave. (btw. 37+38th St.), 212-944-7060

24 Comments

  • I work a few blocks away and have passed this Blimpie many times, but have never brought myself to actually stpe inside, despite the intriguing Spanish Food sign. Maybe one day Zach, maybe one day…

  • On 31st St there used to be another Blimpie’s that also served Thai food, they eventually dumped the sub sandwiches. Joey Thai.

  • I used to work on 6th btwn 38th & 39th and I passed that place all the time. I have to say the dinginess of the place kept me from ever entering, but I will say I was intrigued by the “Spanish Food” sign in the window. Like Matt said, maybe one day!

  • Talk about a gem, I have to find time to walk down there at some point. Super cheap is great.

  • I had a coworker who used to get food there regularly and loved it. He never had any complaints, but the dinginess kept me from venturing in.

  • to clarify, he always got the Spanish food, NOT the blimpie stuff.

  • I’m eating it right now and its a great find. Just as good as a plate at Sophie’s or the like and a lot less expensive. Stewed Chicken over yellow rice and beans is very tasty. Chicken was very tender and the rice really is excellent as Zach points out. And while the place is unusual, and strangely dark, I didn’t find it to be dirty. Then again get back to me in a couple hours.

  • Hmm… Spanish food from a Blimpie’s… interesting.

    PS Isn’t McDonald’s a franchise? It used to be, no? Just wondering… uh, bf and I were discussing why one particular McDonald’s sucked and I told him that it wasn’t up to corporate to fire the people who worked there…

    PPS Do you have any suggestions on how to get him to start reading this site? He eats garbage aka McDonald’s and assorted other fast food crap around Penn Station every day and it’d be nice if he ate a bit healthier but didn’t lose weight. (Healthy is subjective: here, fast food = definitely not, Sophie’s = sure why not, it’s homemade) I guess that’s a bit out of the ML range for you- you should hire/add writers from other parts of Midtown :)

  • Why all the Blimpies hating? I’m personally a fan, or at least would eat Blimpies over Subway any day of the week if I want cold cuts. Granted, you need to find a clean Blimpies, which isn’t easy, but their sandwiches aren’t bad and their meat isn’t nearly as processed as Subway’s.

  • heh. this is RIGHT NEAR me. and i keep seeing construction workers with containers of spanish food eating on the sidewalk, and wondering where they got it from. now i know.

    to Yvo, most people eat assorted fast food crap because it’s cheap and easy and fast. people in my building walk out and across the street even though a five minute walk would bring them so many other options. it’s not that they don’t get a lunch hour, they just would never think, ‘hmm, where can i get a yummy and cheap lunch’

  • i went there with a co-worker a few weeks back. we thought it would not be a good idea to post pictures as the health or zoning board may have shut them down. I sure would not want that to happen since they do serve so mighty tasty food.

    Anyone notice that the ceiling is lower the further you walk back? Whats the deal with that?

  • “or at least would eat Blimpies over Subway any day of the week”

    I’d fish a half eaten Blimpies sandwich out of the garbage over Subway any day of the week.

    Fortunately those aren’t the only two options.

  • Steve B: re ceiling.

    Willy Wonka owns Blimpie

  • Zach, if you had walked one storefront down from there, you would have found an even odder lunch option–the “newsstand” next door has a sign in the window: “Indian Vegetarian Food.” For $6 you get basmati rice, dal, two scoops of whatever vegetable dishes they have that day, bread (paratha? roti?), some pakoras, and a tin-foil ball filled with onions, lettuce, and tomatoes…though the selection has varied the two times I’ve tried.

  • On the next block there’s also a croissant shop that serves Mexican food. It’s probably the weirdest 2 block radius in the city.

  • The Indian Food from the newsstand/convenience store next door to the Blimpie is very good. Its traditional Gujarati food, like you would find at Sukhadia. Went today and they had 4 vegetables (you choose two)- Matar Paneer, Califlower/potato, mixed veggies and Rajma (red kidney beans). Very tasty and a bargain at $6.

  • Has anyone tried the mexican at the croissant shop? I went in today on my way to the blimpie, and the only mexican item I saw on the menu was “mexican tacos” as well as a “mexican tamale” special of the day.

  • Turns out there’s another Blimpie + Spanish Food on 35th between 7th and 8th! When I was there last week, the line wrapped around into the seating area!

    Photos:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshwand/tags/blimpie/

  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but El Blimpie es no more! A sad day for me, as the super awesome cheap latin food served by this Blimpie is but a memory. Shuttered down with a huge for lease sign when I went to visit today.

    Had to settle for tacos at the nearby croissant shop instead.

  • I have some great news- the Latin Food that used to be at this Blimpie has now moved next door to the Convenience store that serves Vegetarian Indian Food!

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