Magdy’s Cart Makes Me Wonder: What the Hell is Chicken Scampi?


I was on the prowl for some street meat yesterday (thanks to everyone for twittering their recommendations @midtowlunch) when I noticed this sign on the Magdy’s Philly Cheesesteak Cart (on Park Ave & 46th St.) I’m sure it’s always been there, but Magdy’s is known for their philly cheesesteaks… and I just never noticed it before.

Scampi means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To my mom it meant breaded shrimp baked in a pyrex dish covered in Pam cooking spray. At most Italian restaurants it involves shrimp, butter, garlic, and white wine. In England it’s fried lobster! I was super curious what it meant to a cheese-steak cart in Midtown.

Somebody looks excited for scampi…

Can you believe the line at this place? At 12:10 on a Tuesday! Amazing. I wonder if this partially has to do with their ordering system. As soon as you get in line, a lady comes and “takes your order” and your money. At that point, you’re stuck… and even if you decide you don’t want to wait, you’ve already paid for your lunch. Very smart! (Technically you could still get your money back since it doesn’t really matter what you tell the lady you want. The guy doesn’t make your plate until you get to the very front of the line anyway.)


Sadly, it turns out that Magdy’s “Chicken Scampi” is just plain old chicken over rice (no clue where they got “scampi” from.) It’s the same chicken over rice plate that came in last place at Street Meat Palooza last July, and I can’t say I disagree. It was fine, and the chicken is good quality chunks (although kind of dry.) But in the end I wasn’t down with the waterlogged rice and the grilled onions (normally I love grilled onions, but the chicken over rice purist in me wasn’t into it), and the whole time I kept thinking I would much rather be eating a plate from the XPL Cart (on 48th and Park). If you are a fan of a more “Americanized” (i.e. less scary) street meat, this could be the chicken over rice for you. Next time I’ll stick with their subs (chicken or steak and cheese), which are unmatched in taste and price on the streets of Midtown.

Magdy’s Cheesesteak Cart, SE corner of 46th & Park Ave.


  • so why the line??

  • Anyone ever patronized the halal cart in front of the Hearst building on the SW corner of 57th and 8th? I’m curious if that it a viable street meat option for a Columbus Circle dweller.

  • In England it’s large prawns(shrimp for you U droppers) breaded then fried.

    2 Days until the pub revue.

  • i have had the halal cart in front fo hearst!! it defintely smells better then it tastes…its not horrible…just kind of dry…even with the sauce…kind of dry…the chicken is good tho. but i suppose the dryness varies from day to day. def try it.

  • those onions look like earth worms

  • With all due apologies to Bob Dylan:

    I ain’t gonna eat at Magdy’s cart no more.
    No, I ain’t gonna eat at Magdy’s cart no more.
    Well, she hands you bland chicken,
    She hands you some rice,
    She asks your for money,
    And there’s some fucking long lines,
    She dupes you every time and you end up bored.
    I ain’t gonna eat no chicken “scampi” no more.
    No, I ain’t gonna eat no chicken “scampi” no more.

  • ….the answer my friend is blowing in my wind.

  • stuck inside of midtown with the halal-cart-blues again

  • I vote for more Harry pics included with the food pics! Harry is always happy when food is around, and his enthusiasm is contagious!

  • I will never tire of baby Harry in these photos!!!

  • Of course not Jenn… after all, he is the only one around here that is shorter than you…

  • For the best chicken over rice w/chunks of meat you gotta go to Carnegie John’s (hmm … I’m heading there right now)!

  • For The Faces and Stewart:

    Wake up Magdy’s I think I got something to say to you
    Its early April and I should be in line at Kwik Meal Two
    Your scampi sign kept me amused, but I felt I was being used
    Oh Magdy’s I ain’t gonna fall for this no more
    You lured me in from home, just to give me a chicken bone
    You tricked my ass and that’s what really hurt

  • M, your brilliance is scary sometimes.

    And I mean in a good way, not a CockChug kind of way.

    Next verse:
    The noontime sun when it hits your cart really shows its crust
    But that don’t worry me none because in Zach I do trust
    On your chicken I did choke; my brain told me that your meat was faux
    Oh, Magdy I couldn’t have cried any more
    You lured me away from work, in line I stood like a jerk
    You took my cash and now all I’ve got are the hershey squirts

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