Airing of Grievances: Cafe Duke & Tad’s


I try my best not to be too negative on this site, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to vent. Every once in awhile I’ll share some of the more angry useful emails I get in a post called “Airing of Grievances”. (If the Eater Complaints Dept. would like royalties, I’ll be happy to pay up…)

“I just went to Cafe Duke yesterday and I bought a mini black forest cake for $5.50!! I went home and wanted to surprise my husband with a little cake for dessert and what happens?? We bit into the cake and it tasted like sour bleach! The whole cake layer inside was alive with greyish blue mold! Needless to say, it not only ruined my evening but it spoiled my appetite for anything Duke in the future!!”

Ooops. Not sure if this was the Cafe Duke on 51st btw. 6+7th (which is one of the few generic Midtown delis I will eat in) or the one down on Broadway and 41st, but either way, it may be a good idea to stay away from their baked goods. If you’re headed to the one on 51st, stick to the by the lb. buffet, and the Korean food in the back left hand corner.

After the jump, a Tad’s complaint you knew would come eventually…

This actually occured before my big Tad’s Steaks write up, and they said it was at the Tad’s on 42nd St. (???)… but it’s a story that needs to be told:

Tads is the worst food I’ve ever had. Some of you guys might have gotten lucky but I walked out feeling worse than after downing a white castle crave case.

My boyfriend and I sat in the back to eat and saw alot of back n forth to the bathroom, excessively. Turns out they were dealing drugs in there. To top it off, as we were heading out a lady squealed because she saw a roach. As gross as that was, it’s pretty unavoidable in Midtown. Besides, I had already eaten and even if I threw it up there was no taking back the fact that I ate there. So back to the roach – a guy serving the meals sees the roach the woman is yelling about. The roach is on the counter where you slide your tray. The guy kills the roach with a rag they use to wipe the counters, shakes it off and goes back to serving up meals.

That sounds awesome. How could I not? Got an grievance you’d like to air? Email it to


  • If I had to choose between doing drugs in a Tad’s bathroom or drinking a glass of Tad’s fine wine by the glass on the counter… I’m following the crackhead to the stall on the left.

  • I bought a Ramen noodle soup from Dukes on 41st last friday and found a long thin strip of metal mixed with the noodles. I almost ate that thing. That plus their nasty atitudes at the registers makes Duke’s cafe a no go for me.

  • She can put down a case of sliders? … impressive.

  • i make more money in that bathroom then they do at the register…i mean…nothing.

  • Lou, it’s not “putting them down” that is impressive…. it’s keeping them from making an emergency exit that is. :)

  • To be quite honest, I NEVER buy any type of desserts from places like Duke’s, or the hundred of other ‘generic delis’ that litter midtown. When I see those ‘desserts’ in the case I take those as ‘DISPLAY ONLY.’ It’s better to look at them than to sully your innocent stomach with something so utterly vile. If you want real GOOD desserts it’s best to go somewhere else…in fact, anywhere else.

    Specifically, someplace where they specialize in making desserts or someplace OTHER than the Midtown area.

    As for Tad’s, tbh, most places in the city are filthy and there are mice, roaches, or whatever. This also includes the most fanciest of restaurants. WhenI used to work in Starbucks, I used to complain about mice eating the food all the time, but it’s not as if they did anything significant about it since that would mean a lot of money lost.

  • I no longer eat food from Duke’s on 51st despite working across the street after I got a 3-day virus-type bathroom-visit-inducing bonus from eating one of their sushi bowls.

  • I like those whole-wheat raspberry bar desserts that look as if they were made in someone’s basement in Flushing. Really.

  • @ Anonymous … sushi from Duke’s … c’mon, you deserve to get sick.

  • @MM

    IA. There are some things you just don’t eat @ those type of places.

  • the problem with those places such as cafe duke that because they use uneducated ,ignorants illegal aliens to handle our food no matter if they wear gloves or not they still do not know ,I was there last month with my co-worker and the guy at the counter was slicing row chicken on the same cutting board where he makes people,s sandwiches with the same kinfe,no wonder if some one got sick!!!

  • wow, mandee… racist much? so just cause someone’s of a different ethnicity, that makes them illegal, ignorant, or uneducated? and sanitary food conditions have everything to do with these elements of race and immigration and nothing to do with management or the establishments themselves? maybe you should think about the garbage that you put in your mouth (and the shit that spews out of it) and do less commenting.

  • Shuana, if i may,’Bangingly correct.

  • I do not think it is a good place to buy a lunch ,the service is so bad , try on sundy the workers do not want to help the customers and all what the say is we do not have this or that,or the section is closed,they are so rude and do not encourage anyone to come back again

  • I do believe Cafe Duke is no better than Tad,s steak, it is worse, if the second one has something wrong going on in the back,Cafe Duke is full of illegal activities ,starting from laundering money,harboring undocumented illegal aliens, tax fraud and tax evasion, and what is beyond that could be worse

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