The Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge


Alright… so the time has come.  I know it seems coincidental that this would happen so close to the Walgreens sandwich dare, but this idea was actually inspired more by the amazing entries for the Murray’s Salami Sandwich Challenge. The sandwich ideas you came up with were ten times better than most of the boring sandwich offerings in Midtown. And that’s when it dawned on me.  We CAN do better!  That’s right.  In these economically trying times, lunchers are demanding more for their money, and I think it is time for the restaurants of Midtown to step up to the plate with something inspiring.  The days of coasting on turkey and swiss is over!  So here is what I’m proposing:

A challenge… to every single restaurant in Midtown to come up with a new sandwich.  A bold sandwich. A sandwich that pushes the boundaries of what human beings were meant to ingest.  And you shall call it the “Midtown Lunch Special”.  Add this special sandwich to your menu (temporarily or permanently) and we will post about it on Midtown Lunch.  That’s it. You get free publicity, and more business… we get better sandwiches. Easy enough, right?

Ideas, how you the Midtown Lunch’er can help make this dream a reality, and all your other questions are answered after the jump…

What are the rules? Easy.  Create a sandwich.  Call it the “Midtown Lunch Special”.  Add it to your menu.  Charge under $10 for it (the less the better, obviously.)  Email me at to let me know.  And then I will try the sandwich and post it on Midtown Lunch. You can offer the sandwich one day a week, or every day.  For one month, or for 16 years.  Whatever you want.  Obviously, the better the sandwich is, the more interest it will generate.  But that being said, EVERY sandwich will get posted about as long as the rules above are followed.

What should this special sandwich be made up of? Well, if you need inspiration, you can look to the winner of the 2008 Readers’ poll choice for best sandwiches: Sophie’s Cuban & Tina’s Restaurant.  Their fried pork and plantain sandwich is a stroke of genius, and exactly what we’re looking for.  Bold. New. Unhealthy. Wrong (but oh so right.)  The kind of sandwich that makes you say “You’re joking, right?” Burgers are ok as well… as long as there is bread of some kind, with stuff piled inside it. Burgers, hot dogs, whatever. Just make it good.

Why am I doing this? Well, this is pretty obvious. In almost three years of doing this site I’ve never done any promotion, so I figured what better way to get the Midtown Lunch name out there by forcing Midtown Lunch spots to up their sandwich game for the Midtown Lunchers themselves! In other words, I’m a fat man, who likes to eat gross sandwiches.  I’m bored with the sandwiches in Midtown, and what better way to fix that problem with a sandwich challenge.  You know things are bad when readers are begging me to eat a processed sandwich from Walgreens.  We can do better! For example, can’t we get a brisket sandwich with gravy and onion rings on top?  This shouldn’t be hard. (Blarney Stone I’m looking at you.) Goodburger… bring back your fried egg and hash brown topped hamburger! (Why did you let it go away in the first place?) And what about a Rutgers style “grease truck” sandwich in Midtown?  Is there no Italian restaurant willing to put chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, and french fries on a roll and serve it smothered in cheese and sauce?  Got any other ideas? Put them in the comments. We can do this people!

Can any restaurant enter? Yes!  And this is the beauty of the thing.  There are a lot of sit down restaurants and standard Midtown delis that get ignored by Midtown Lunch’ers because they are either too expensive or uninspired. So- ignored restaurants… here is your chance!  Want to get recognized by the Midtown Lunch Readers?  Make an awesome sandwich, call it the “Midtown Lunch Special” and charge less than $10 for it (ideally a lot less)… and you will get posted about on Midtown Lunch.  I’m looking at you Cafe Metro, Pax, Europa, and Pret.  Here’s your chance to offer something truly spectacular. Lunch spots that are already well known by the Midtown Lunch crowd?  Reinvigorate your fans by adding a new and exciting sandwich to your menu. If you build it, we will come.

What can I the Midtown Lunch reader do? Here’s the thing… I can’t do this on my own. Most delis and restaurants probably don’t read Midtown Lunch, so if you can, I need your help. Have an amazing sandwich idea for the deli at the bottom of your building? Let them know about the challenge. Have a cousin who owns a Midtown Lunch spot? Let them know about the challenge. Want to effect positive change at the places you eat lunch at…. print out this post, and LET THEM KNOW ABOUT THE CHALLENGE. If we all band together, think about the delicious sandwich possibilities that are in store for us. I even made up a sign that places can print out and use to promote their sandwich [PDF]. If the restaurant has any questions, they can email me at

So there it is. Free publicity for restaurants. Free publicity for Midtown Lunch. Awesome sandwiches for everybody!!! It’s win, win, win. So what are you waiting for.

Restaurants of Midtown, you have your marching orders. Who will answer the challenge?!?!

Here are the sandwich that have been introduced so far:


  • how about a bacon cheeseburger between krispy kreme donuts?

  • St. Louis diners have a plate called “the slinger” It involves eggs, hash browns, toast and breakfast meat, all of which is covered in chili. I think it would be delicious in sandwich form. Also, if you got country sausage gravy instead of chili, it was called a “Toby”

  • someone, just bring a good tasting banh mi deal to midtown. 2 for $10 would be great.

  • I could use an amazing breakfast burrito. Chorizo, eggs, garlic, onions, hash browns or tader tots, chili beans, sour cream, guac and salsa. All wrapped up in a big white tortilla. Doesn’t that sound awesome!?!?!

  • @jill

    that’s the luther burger inane commented on…

  • Since I was reared in Jersey, I want the NJ diner classic, cheese fries and gravy, reinvented in sandwich form. I want a grilled cheese sandwich, stuffed with french fries, and dipped (French dip style) in gravy.

  • First time posting. I couldn’t resist anymore after reading your blog for some time now.

    Back in Stony Brook, my friends and I would drive out a little further east to Se-Port Deli and get a “Gasm”

    Toasted Garlic Baguette, Breaded Chicken, Bacon, Mozzarella, Coleslaw, and Russian Dressing. The closest I’ve gotten to something like that was some pre-cooked mash up from Cherry Hill (beast?).

    Maybe they can omit the garlic to spare our coworkers.

  • or we can just slap a piece of that bacon-cheese roll on some pound cake and call it a day.

  • Today I noticed that Sophie’s has a new ‘Special’ sandwich called the ‘Pernil with a Kick’. It is almost the same as the infamous Fried Pork w/plantain sandwich but uses the roast pork (pernil) and they add their green sauce. The pernil is more moist than the fried pork version and the green sauce does have a nice kick. It was good. Very good.

  • Update on the Biryani Sandwich Cart: While they’re still offering the Burger 46 on their regular menu, they have added a Veggie Burger to the menu as the new Midtown Lunch Sandwich. I believe it is called “The Bistro Burger,” if I saw it correctly.

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