PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Sisha Ortuzar” Plus ‘wichcraft Book Giveaway

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, I’m pretty excited to welcome Sisha Ortuzar, the cofounder of ‘wichcraft, which has many Midtown locations. Whether or not you love or hate ‘wichcraft, Sisha is an amazing chef who has cooked in some of ML’s favorite cities- including Chile, New Orleans, and of course NYC (at Grammercy Tavern). And he co-wrote the brand new ‘wichcraft book (along with Tom Collichio). We actually have 5 copies to give away at the bottom of the profile.

Name: Sisha

Age: 36

Occupation: Restaurant owner, so it depends on the day (sometimes chef, sometimes designer, sometimes architect, sometimes marketer, sometimes dishwasher, etc.)

Where in Midtown do you Work?: ‘wichcraft (several locations in Manhattan, a lot of them in Midtown)

Favorite Kind of Food: I like almost everything; it really depends on the day. The food that I find most interesting tends to be spicy (Szechuanese, Korean, Indian) but I also like simple and straight forward food. One of my favorite things to eat is toast with butter.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Puerto Rican food. It just seems very bland and one-note to me.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Bar Zippeto (on 6th btw. 56+57th) for espresso. The halal meat cart on 6th Ave. and 49th for meat on a stick. A cheeseburger from the Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien (on 56th btw. 6+7th), and Yushi (on 47th btw. Park+Lex) for a healthy snack.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? ‘wichcraft. It’s kind of convenient.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Singapore. Those hawker food centers look really good.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? How can ‘wichcraft make you happier? (I know I’m setting myself up for abuse with this one.)

Well, unlike previous lunchers, at least he knows he’s in for some abuse! Alright… so here is how you win your own copy of the new ‘wichcraft book by Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar. Just comment below… a ‘wichcraft suggestion, or whatever, and you’re entered to win. 5 winners will be drawn at random on Friday (4/17) at Noon. Please be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you win. (Don’t worry, it won’t show up on the site.)

I’ll start… make the sandwiches cheaper and/or larger! That way us fat guys won’t have to resort to “menu strategies” like this one.

And as always if you want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me at


  • Bring a ‘wichcraft to Los Angeles!

  • ***edit*** anchovy, not sardine (mea culpa)

  • 1. Late night food, something greasy and fried and just right for soaking up booze (which will require late hours too)

    2. Contrary to popular opinion, something smaller and snacky, slider-esque and simple (meat, cheese, mustard or mayo) so that, when I just want a small bite to eat in between meals I don’t have to pay $10 for (what I hear is) an underwhelming whole sandwich

  • “Least Favorite Kind of Food: Puerto Rican food. It just seems very bland and one-note to me.”

    Oh wow. As someone who has grown up on Puerto Rican cuisine I can’t believe that I’m reading this. My meals were NEVER bland, always full of flavor and spicy. Maybe it’s the places that you went to that were bad.

    Unless you grew up on it also, then I am sorry to say that whoever served it to you just. couldn’t. cook.

  • have a menu that separate the savory from the sweet sandwiches. Creating a collection of sweet sandwich (aka nutella or strawberry cream) might appeal to customers when they want to grap an afternoon snack.

  • I’m fine with the size and price since your ingredients are top-notch, but I do wish your menu would change more often, or have more specials. As much as I love my grilled gruyere, it would be nice to have another grilled cheese option more often (I’m not a fan of the other two). The same goes with the desserts; thrilled to see Sullivan St. at the Rock Center location, sad to not see it at my preferred location (49th st).

  • How can ‘wichcraft make you happier? Free sandwich samples on the store-front would be nice!

    I have to agree with everyone above. There needs to be some deals/ specials. With our wonderful economy today, how about a BOGO (buy one get one) sandwich deal. That way people can share with their friends or finally feel two sandwiches are “big” enough to enjoy. :-)

  • The Bryant Park kiosk, in terms of sandwiches, really isn’t as good as the other locations. Especially the anchovy sandwich, which is my favorite. I think they put on a whole layer of anchovies, like the way they’re layered on the paper with no space in between, and it’s way too much. So I never get it anymore. And why do the kiosks only ever have apple coffeecake and the other locations seem to have different seasonal flavors?

    I think it would be a good idea to throw in something like a cookie as a freebie. Or maybe a free beverage. Or be able to order half-sandwiches for half the price.

  • Make the BLT available year round. Love that sandwich.

  • I’d eat at ‘wichcraft far more often if it was slightly more affordable.

  • IS your Dad Donald Pleasance?

  • Some minimal ability to customize sandwiches would be a plus (short of a build-your-own, which would slow down already delayed lines).

  • Service. Not to pick on just ‘wichcraft, all of Tom’s restaurants suffer from the same affliction. CraftBar has just plain bad service; Craft used to be great, now is indifferent; and ‘wichcraft counter folks are just unfriendly and/or too spacey. I congratulate Tom on the success of his reality show. My suggestion is to let Ripert be the guest host, and so he can get back to work, training his staffs again. Oh yeah, and lower your sandwich prices. Come on; they’re not that great.

  • How about putting the sandwich featured in Gourmet Magazine on the menu? Red Wine-Braised Flank Steak with Roasted Peppers, Onions, and Gruyère… sounds wonderful but over two hours for a sandwich? If you do the work for me, now that would be perfect!

  • I would definitely have to say new specials, every week or month to keep things exciting and interesting…

  • 1) Sell one “Killer App” sandwich that is priced well below the others and is unique to upscale sandwich shops. Kind of like the Midtown Lunch sandwich challenge. Alternatively, if you don’t discount, offer some combination like a fee cookie or something on your slowest day of the week.

    2) Agree with Blondie – feature more special desserts – your desserts now are great but switchit up even more. The cookies and cakes are top notch but offer more variety so I can go back more often.

  • I think adding weekly specials would be nice to add a little variety to the menu. Also, the soups seem like just an after thought, and it would be great if there were a couple of more choices.

  • Yes, definetly make the sandwiches cheaper and change the menu often. Also the soup of the day seems to be the soup of the month or more. It really doesn’t change that often.

  • I was happy to see ‘wichcraft is now on Seamless Web — but I wish you would improve delivery. I would order more often it didn’t always take 60-90 minutes to get a sandwich (and i’m only a few blocks away).

  • Puerto Rican food is amazing. ‘wichcraft….meh.

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