PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Doc”

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 we’re proud to welcome a really special guest to the site… it’s Street Food Week on, and every day they’re posting recommendations from different cities. Yesterday was New York City and Philly, today is Portland and Seattle, and LA, SF, Zurich, SE Asia, Miami, and New Orleans will round out the week. To commemorate the occasion Gourmet’s Executive Editor John “Doc” Willoughby kindly agreed to tell us where he likes to lunch- including his favorite street cart.

Name: Doc

Age: 61

Occupation: Editor, Writer, Dog owner

Where in Midtown do you Work?: Conde Nast

Favorite Kind of Food: As long as it’s got some powerful flavors going on, it’s okay with me.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Sea slugs and other murky creatures of the deep

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: If I’m putting on the dog for a writer, whatever Dave says is best that day at Esca; if it’s just me and friends, samsa and bakhsh at Taam Tov (47th between 5th and 6th) or kurobuta tonkatsu at Katsu-Hama (the location on 47th between 5th and Madison).

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? The Halal Chicken Curry Cart on 43rd and 6th (aka the Trini Paki Boys.) Our boss has spread the word, so at least a few people in the office are eating lunch from this cart every day.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Güllüoglu, on 52nd and 2nd. I can’t believe I didn’t hear about this in advance. Going there today.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? If it could be anyplace in the world, definitely Istanbul, where the street food is like a fantasy. Greasy lamb intestine sandwiches; awesome grilled corn; simit everywhere; about 25 different kinds of kebabs, best in the world; stuffed mussels; lettuce-wrapped raw ground veal kneaded to silkiness with maras and urfa peppers. Oh, man.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? I wonder if there are any places for a relaxed sit-down lunch in this part of town that don’t break the budget?

Oooh… my new favorite, most relaxing, sit down lunch in Midtown is without a doubt Yakitori Totto. And the best part is, you don’t have the break the Midtown Lunch $10 price cap!

Got a recommendation for Doc? Post it in the comments… And, as always if anybody would like to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me at


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