PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Rachel”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. Today it’s Rachel, an editor and writer who tries to be healthy, but obsesses about cupcakes (in blog form). 

 Name: Rachel


Editor/Writer (and blogger, as one of the three ladies who run the site “Cupcakes Take the Cake“)

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
I work above Madison Square Garden

Favorite Kind of Food:
Mexican food, sushi (it’s a tie)

Least Favorite Kind of Food:

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I feel like I’m being sacrilegious here, but I have to give a shoutout to the Macy’s salad bar downstairs from where I work. I try to eat pretty healthily (most of the time) and they have some great, fresh stuff in their salad bar. I also go to Charleston’s on 7th Avenue when I’m meeting anyone for lunch – I think it’s technically one block below the Midtown Lunch’ing boundaries, between 30th and 31st, but they have everything and with the hot meals you get a really big lunch.  There is a Korean place on 32nd between 6th and 7th, near 6th, on the south side of the street. I forget the name, but it’s open 24 hours and really yummy and pretty quick.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: The Pump — it’s on my way back to work from my gym, Crossfit NYC, and I love it because you can get anything on the menu and it’s cheap and healthy. And for any naysayers who think “no oil, no fried foods, no white flour, no sugar, etc.” means it tastes bland, that’s so not true. Plus they have fun names like “Big Arms” and “Lean and Mean.” And hot sauce. Mmm…hot sauce. Really, everything I’ve gotten there is delicious, and I go so often they know my name. I’m very much a creature of habit and really like having one place where I know what my favorites are and it’s cheap and easy and also healthy; I am not a health freak but after I work out it makes sense to me to eat something not drowned in oil. Plus I like vegetables but don’t always eat enough of them so most anything I get from the Pump has spinach or broccoli. (Four Locations in Midtown)

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: I’m still looking! I didn’t discover it via Midtown Lunch but I am a big fan of Kati Roll and plan to check out your Indian food suggestions.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Hmm…this is tough. I might have to say San Francisco for the abundance of good burritos. I could eat Mexican food every day (see above, creature of habit). If we’re sticking to New York, I’d have to say the Lower East Side for its proximity to sugar Sweet sunshine, my favorite cupcake bakery in New York, if not the world. Not that I’d eat just cupcakes for lunch, but I also happen to really like the kale at Earth Matters. Kale and cupcakes sounds healthy, right?

Since you co-author the site “Cupcake Takes the Cake”, I’ve got to ask the obligatory cupcake question, right?  Best in Midtown.  Go: Unfortunately, the pickings are few and far between around here — there’s Burgers and Cupcakes on 9th Ave. btw. 35+36th, which is great if you’re craving that combination of comfort food. There is also a place on 8th Avenue btw. 30+31st, Daiuto’s ( that makes massive, delicious chocolate cupcakes, the kind you need to split with someone but are so worth it.

Alright, before we talk about cupcakes we gotta mention your goto lunch… the infamous Pump.  My wife has been trying to convince me of Pump’s greatness for a long time.  I’m certainly not looking to beef up, and lord knows I don’t exercise- but the notion of eating french fries that are “good for you” is certainly intriguing.  Do they have those?  You know… the “air cooked” french fries that those places usually have?  If they do, I may check it out.

Sorry about that momentary lapse.  Back to the cupcakes!  I’m not a huge cupcake person, but I certainly don’t have anything against them.  Miniature cakes, topped with frosting.  How can that be bad?  What’s your favorite cupcake in Midtown?  Post it as a comment below…

And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, or you’d like to nominate somebody in your office, email me at


  • OMG Zach, first Robert Sietsema and now The Lusty Lady. You are my hero. Your Midtown Lunch’er Profile is starting to read like Celebrity Apprentice. Rachel, this is probably the first thing you ever wrote that didn’t make me spank the monkey. Although that pic of you with the cupcake is starting to make me… I gotta go

  • I once purchased a $5 red velvet cupcake from Dean & Deluca in Rock Center. I felt stupid and guilty but then I ate it and felt a lot better, though I don’t think they cooked the thing themselves.

    There is Cupcake Cafe, of course, which is on the bleeding edge of Midtown. Gonna try to post the link below. Their cupcakes are of the plain-Jane straighforward delicious nature — my favorite kind. Like Mrs. Nakashima would make next door when I was 6. (that was in Hawaii, hence Mrs. Nakashima making cupcakes and not mochi cakes…).


  • You know, I totally checked out the Outpost in the MTV building for the soup offerings (I think that soup girl’s ML profile is still the very best for her exuberance and detailed oriented-ness). Anyhoos, the soup was great. But I’ve also come to enjoy the cupcakes at the Outpost. Their red velvet cupcakes are surprisingly good. So cheap soup and tasty cupcakes make the Outpost a nice place to get lunch when I am in the mood to cross through the tourist laden/traffic mad Times Square hell pit.

  • Amy’s Bread is my fav for cupcakes- on ninth between 46th and 47th — the red velvet is really good.

  • I feel like the people who champion The Pump Engergy Food are all work-out-aholics. That is totally cool and all, and actually some of the food is okay. The thing is, on a philosophical level, Zach, can you deal with a place that does BAKED falafels?

  • Hmmmmmmmmmm…. Liv.

  • Everything from The Pump tastes like water- which is to say it has no taste. I gave it a try for a good 3 days and had a bunch of stuff, but I had to drown it in hot sauce to make it enjoyable for me…which probably did wonders for my sodium intake.

  • Rachel, If you are really big on Mexican, give the appetizers a shot at El Parador (34th bet 1st and 2nd – A bit far of a walk for lunch but check it out for happy hr one day)

    Mushroom Quesadillas and Mussels are the best appetizers in the city plus they make great frozen drinks

  • I’m going through a cupcake phase right now. Usually I go to Cucina after 4pm to get my fix for $1.25. Right now I’m into the hostess-style filled cupcakes. The ones at ‘wichcraft are much tastier, much smaller, and much more expensive. My favorite is the vanilla cupcake from Sage American Restaurant at Dean & Deluca (when someone else is buying).

  • Buttercup Bakeshop (51st and 2nd) is awesome if you venture a bit outside of Midtown Lunch boundaries.

  • Only good thing I’ve had at Pump is the turkey burger with mozz cheese and tomato sauce in a pita. Other than that the food there is brutal. There are much better healthy options at other resturants that are not as quite “health” focused just gotta be smart with respect to what you order. Cupcakes at The Cupcake Cafe are really good – butter creamed out its a fat mans dream.

  • There’s a Buttercup Bake Shop @ 2 ave btwn 51st and 52nd (for us East Midtowners), which I’m a fan of. Also, if you ever want air baked fries there’s a diner on 44th btwn lex and 3rd (I think it’s called Billy’s? It’s across from the Wheeltapper) that has them. I had them last summer, and they were decently tasty.

  • Nice call on Daiuto. It is also the home of Baby Watson cheesecakes, which are among the finest cheesecakes in all the land.

  • It may be outside of official midtown lunch boundaries, but I have to agree with Joyce and panda, Buttercup Bakeshop is my fave cupcake, perhaps overall in the city. Amy’s Bread cupcakes are good, as well.

  • Wayne – why embarrass yourself?

  • Because Mr Peter Lusk is busy:)

  • Gents, Rachel’s writing is hot enough to melt those cupcakes and everything else in the vicinity. I kid you not:,bussel,72479,24.html

  • woah…. steamie…..

  • I have been waiting for someone to bring up the Pump here. I used to go a lot more often (It would have been the place my co-workers and I eat at too often if I were ever profiled).

    The food is good, anyone who wants to give it a try I would suggest the dynamite pita or the dyonysus, with a turkey burger instead of chicken and hot sauce (or spicy, in the parlance of the Pump) They also have awesome hummus.

  • Ultimately, the best tasting food from the Pump are the items that push the boundary of what constitutes truly healthy food. As in, when you add low-fat mozzarella or hummus, it improves most of the items. Also, while the [horrifically dry] chicken is the healthier choice, the turkey burgers taste a lot better. I sort of enjoy their nature burger, but the neon green color does little to help its appeal.

    Generally, my problem with the Pump is that it has such a bad rep for taste that I can hardly ever convince other people to order delivery with me from there, and the wait at the restaurant (56th & 5th location) is just way too long to ever go there myself. I agree with Dombrooks on just ordering healthier options at places with more diverse offerings, when you’re up for that.

    Or just live on cupcakes and kati rolls.

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