“Healthy” Lunch Options Invade Midtown East

Three new spots have opened on the east side that are most definitely not what I consider to be Midtown Lunch material… but I won’t discriminate. Just because I’m a fat bastard doesn’t mean you all have to be. (Plus it’s Earth Day, right?)

Green Room

The Green Room Cafe (on Lex and 45th) opened this past week- and it turns out it’s not a health club cafe from Singapore, but a total Pret rip off playing up how fresh and organic their lunch stuff is.  The free sample (and make no mistake about it, I will never turn down free samples) of tuna sandwich I tried tasted like every tuna sandwich on wheat bread I’ve ever had. Thanks but no thanks.


The second place, Recharge (on Lex btw. 39+40th), has probably been open for awhile now, but I hadn’t walked by in a long while.  I made fun of their menu back before they had opened… but nothing could have prepared me for the scene inside this Pump Energy Food/Energy Kitchen wannabe.


Call me crazy, but I don’t want to see giant tubs full of powdered protein on the counter in my lunch spots.  What is it with that GNC shit anyway?  Is that stuff really good for you in a non bodybuilder application?  I don’t think I’ll ever understand the whole getting your nutrients in powder form from giant plastic tubs. Next.

Smoothie King

When I lived in LA for two years, I discovered a soft spot in my heart for the smoothie which has dissipated a bit since moving to New York (replaced by that cold blackness that permeates every true New Yorker).  It must be something about that West coast weather.  Sure, I’ll still get a Jamba Juice every once in awhile on a hot day… but I have never liked Smoothie King (there was one across from my wife’s dorm in New Orleans.)  Maybe you will. One just opened on 41st btw. Lex+3rd.  Enjoy!


  • I had a buddy that would drive to penn station from long island for smoothie king.

  • Regarding Recharge, appropriately, the guy behind the counter is as far away as possible from the “lean body.”

  • I tried Recharge last week and I actually liked it–even though I was super skeptical with all the whey tub and muscle milk business on the counter.

    I got the most boring and sad wrap on the menu–all veggie but I was in the mood for health food, so it worked [wrap was huge and only $7].

    Wouldn’t make a habit out of going here but it’s next to my building and it’s good for days when I want to pretend I always eat healthy.

  • those powders will make ya fat. it’s just proteins and sugars to make the protein powder not taste like cardboard.

  • That GNC Sh*t is so bogus—a standard high protein diet is all you need to put on muscle when you’re working out (not that we do such things on this board). All those “supplements” add minimal benefit, and are a total ripoff. Cans of tuna my friends….cans of tuna…in water. All you need protein wise.

  • I really liked the Recharge on the upper east side – I believe it’s the same owners (fat guy runs it, as noted).

    Tasty food, nice owner, not too expensive.

    If the midtown location is similar, may be worth it as a healthy alternative.

  • Just to add on the theme, there is an Earth Health Bar coming soon to the Citigroup building food court (as well an overpriced 24hr Jeter fitness club).

  • I actually like Smoothie King. My favorite there is the banana smoothie – vanilla frozen yogurt, bananas, and skim milk. It’s flavorful and just taste fatty to me, and maybe that’s why I like it so much. However, I only went to Smoothie King when I was living in Texas. I haven’t been to one in almost 4 years.

  • Whey is a very lean, naturally occuring protein. The contents of those big tubs of whey are, in fact, very healthy for anyone, not just body builders. As for tuna in water, yes its an excellent source of protein, but not for when your body is in a catabolic state (ie: when waking up in the morning and immediately after a workout.) After 6-8 hours without nutrition, your body literally eats away at itself, burning muscle, before fat, for energy. Also, in the immediate 15-45 minutes after working out, your muscles are starving for nutrition and building blocks. Protein in the form of whey can digest and enter your blood stream (and ultimately, your muscles) in a matter of minutes. Whereas tuna, chicken and other slow digesting proteins, take significantly longer to digest. Those tubs that you see also contain very little to no sugar at all. They are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. The most valuable “supplement” for anyone…body builder or not.

  • Dott: eat me

  • dott…have you ever killed a man in your thighs?

  • dott, get your muscle-head out of your ass and read some Jack LaLanne. That shit is neither natural nor healthy.

    And Zach,,, Jamba Juice? The shame. At least go to Health King (38/Bway) or one of the independent places that serve REAL JUICE from REAL FRUIT. Jamba is all ice, frozen shit, syrup and corporate mumbo-jumbo. Ever see anything real in there besides the artfully arranged orange crate?

  • Wayne,stop being factual.

  • wayne, what makes you say its neither natural nor healthy?

    “Whey or milk plasma is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained; it is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein and has several commercial uses.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whey

  • i like smoothie king. I tend to get the angel food small smoothie. cools me down when it’s hot out.

  • In fairness to smoothie king, I only had it once. and it was a pretty crappy location in New Orleans. Clearly nobody should be listening to my opinions about smoothies…

  • Can we get dott as the Freak of the Week next week?

  • Wow.a place advertised to be healthy is run by a huggggge dude? Ironic.

  • Freak of the week? I don’t get why?

  • Protien Powders have thier place when you CAN’T eat a full meal. Shake is a good substitute. Whey protein also absorbs into the bloodstream faster than any other type of protien. Now GNC prices are a ripoff and maybe 90% of the stuff they sell is useless unless you are deficient in some way, but protien power is not a gimmick. Now having a shake with your meal will only add calories and make you fat. Eating at these places won’t make you skinny either. You still have to know what to order. One can easily get fat eating at Eva’s or The Pump. 95% of these healthy spots are nothing but marketing. “Hell its says healthy so its good for me.” Gimmie a break. Eat a salad without the heavy dressing and cheese!

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