PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Niko”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week, it’s Niko- a Healthy Promotion Director with a serious sweet tooth.

Name: Niko

Age: 39

Occupation: Day job: Health Promotion Director. Labor of love: Running

Where in Midtown do you Work?: 53rd & Park

Favorite Kind of Food: I view eating real food, including lunch, as simply something that stands in the way of eating dessert. A necessary evil to prevent my body from decaying from too much sugar and butter… but since this is Midtown Lunch, I’ll play along. I really like sushi, soba noodles and most other Japanese as well as a lot of Korean food, especially Bibimbap (it’s best when they burn the rice at the bottom of a cast iron pot). In fact, the ML post about the $7 fancy Bibimbap made my month. And then its on to dessert, where my true heart lies. Its great to see how many of your readers (like myself) are willing to skip a wholesome meal for a full-on, intended-for-after-dinner, dessert. The options for doing this in midtown have really blown up even in the last few months.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: After a few years without much red meat – the thought of steak just makes me want to laugh in technicolor. Also, anything with Chinese eggplant – I had a bad experience once and since I assume many of you are a) eating lunch right now or b) about to eat lunch, I’ll just leave it that.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I love Oms/B (on 45th btw. Lex+3rd), Pret a Manger (for the cookies), and I sometimes rock the Ed’s Tofu from Whole Foods that you talked about in a feature- but Whole Foods is a marathon walk for me at lunch. The last 2 months I have hit the Dessert Truck, since it moved to right outside my work.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Dishes. Too expensive but good. Killer baked goods. But definitely will go BROKE eating at this place. You can barely get out of there under the $10 minimum.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Your feature on Oms/B is the how I first discovered ML. I had a mad craving for a good rice ball and I think I Googled something like “Rice Ball midtown New York” and then I walked there the same day. It’s about a mile round trip. I thought I was the only jackass who walked all over this island in search of palatable food, but then I read that ML is geared for people who were willing to walk to get good value or for a specific craving. I knew I had found a blog I would go to every day. The most important thing I discovered from ML is the Vendys. I was unaware of the event prior to this year and really enjoyed attending and reviewing the dessert trucks so – thanks Zach.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? This might be considered “fighting the hypothetical” but I guess I would like to work as food street vendor in Provence because I know I could live a very good life eating lunch every day at their open air markets. They have everything from 200 different cheeses to fish to tapenades, bread vendors…fish etc.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? If you had to spend the whole ML budget ($10.00) on a dessert or sweet dish, what would you purchase and where? Also if anyone has a suggestion as to the best chocolate chip cookie in New York that isn’t already on my list I would love to hear about it.

I think I may have the opposite philosophy as you Niko.  As much I love desserts (quite frankly, what fat guy doesn’t), I usually eat so much savory food I’m too full for dessert. That whole “stop eating to save room” thing that you dessert freaks have, doesn’t exist in my brain. That being said, a 3pm chocolate chip cookie break has been an on and off part of my repertoire for awhile now… and my favorite cookies may surprise you:

The chocolate chip cookie from Au Bon Pain (also acceptable is the m&m cookie from ABP).  Don’t get me wrong… there are some amazing cookies in Midtown, and if given the choice I will patronize the Treats Truck over a soul-less chain any day.  It may not hold up to some of the fancy, more expensive options out there- but the simple fact is, Au Bon Pain’s cookies are really freakin’ good.

Feel free to post your resonses in the comments. 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


  • I never will get my fat grumpy cab driver from Queens will I?

  • Despite fervent searching by a team of searchers, no evidence of even a scrap of manliness can be found in this week’s profile

    Red polka dot boxers on display because the ‘Tuesday’ panties were in the wash

  • From one of the bakeries in Grand Central Market i had an awesome chocolate/chocolate Cupcake. Not nearly $10, but i’d imagine after the $2 for that i could probably spend another $8 on some fresh bread and cheese.

  • What are you talking about? Those bangs and that red belt scream masculinity.. Au Bon Pain used to offer 1/2 price pastries after 3pm until they realized my office was driving them to bankruptcy..

  • I think I’ll use this as a challenge to go outside and spend $10 on dessert. Will report back post-haste!

  • Shoot wayne, I didn’t need to notice those boxers.. really I had tried my best to skim that whole profile after this line:

    “After a few years without much red meat – the thought of steak just makes me want to laugh in technicolor”

    Only Elton john is allowed to use the word technicolor in public.

  • And I’m willing to bet on the cellular level that chinese eggplant is pretty much the same as italian eggplant. I’m just saying, if you’re gonna go there, i ain’t gonna like you.

    I actually was gonna make a cookie suggestion but I’m too busy drinking haterade.

  • My dearest “Niko”

    I am retired “educator” and an esteemed Freemason. I have made a career AND an avocation out of advising impressionable young men such as yourself.

    I have one bit of rather critical advice for you: BUTCH UP.

    Going through life with whispy bangs, a taste for sweets and a name like “Niko” is an ironclad guarantee of failure with the ladies. Should you be so inclined.

  • wow – i hadn’t noticed those boxers either. is that a mistake or a “look”?

    anyway, this post isn’t for me. i’d rather eat a french fry over a dessert any day

  • I am not sure how much it is, but the Lemon Cake at Del Frisco’s is probably the greatest piece of cake I have ever had in my entire life.

  • @fedthefish: Why choose when you can dip your fries in a chocolate milk shake and have both? Seriously, milk shake fries are awesome.

  • well, theoretically I think someone who doesn’t give a sh** that his pants are falling down in a pic that’s going to be so public is probably a hopelessly guy guy.

  • Ewww Tom! Nope, fries with malt vinegar or mustard if that is not available. If in North Carolina: chips in ranch sauce.

  • $10 on an all-dessert lunch? Easy!

    A large 40 carrots frozen yogurt from Bloomingdale’s, with maybe the chocolate bread pudding from the dessert truck.


  • I second Dave’s comment. The lemon cake from Del Frisco’s is insanely huge and delicious. and the chocolate cake from Patsy’s (on 56th street) is divine.
    Levain gets my vote for best chocolate chip cookie.

    My personal motto: Dessert after every meal.

  • mmm Levain. I’d have a regular and chocolate chocolate chip for lunch once a week if I could.

  • @tom: no…do not mix the salty and the sweet. sacrilegious!

  • That is so limited Mamacita. I suppose you don’t like Poutine either? I mean come on, it is hard to find something that fried potatoes don’t go well with.

  • I just dropped $9.50 on two cupcakes in Grand Central Market, one from Corrado, one from Zaro’s.

  • Oh man I love poutine! I’m just not into a fry dipped in a shake. I do enjoy my orange chicken or sesame chicken, so there are exceptions to the sweets thing.

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