Flatiron Lunch: Free Dessert, $1 Pizza, Eataly and More

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Today’s Flatiron Lunch is going to be a little different than usual. There’s been a lot of news on the food scene in the area lately and I wanted to catch us all up on the new and upcoming food options.

Upcoming Thai food, Barbecue, Classic Brooklyn Pizza, free desserts and more after the jump.

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The Village Voice reports that the Desi Truck (on 27th and 5th) that I reported on a couple weeks ago is giving away free desserts through the end of July to those who know the secret password. Just say the magic words, “Khul Jaa Sim Sim” and get something sweet to finish off your lunch. The truck is also still a work in progress with many bells and whistles coming soon including televisions and free wifi. That’s all well and good, but call me when they have seating.

While we’re on food trucks, don’t forget that Brownie reported earlier this week that Maffei’s Pizza Truck is serving dollar pizza, including Grandma slices on Broadway and 28th. Word is they’ll be bouncing around in Midtown, too.

The big Flatiron news of the week was in Madison Square Park at the “Celebrate Flatiron Chefs” event. There, Eataly, the massive Italian marketplace announced that it should be opening by the 31st of August (on 5th Ave. and 23rd Street). Based on a market in Turin, Italy of the same name, Eataly will be a market to buy fresh groceries as well as a collection of eateries serving food from rotisseries to pastas and pizza. At the top of it all, and opening later in the fall, a rooftop brewery is planned featuring beer produced by Dogfishhead and Russian River Brewery..

Both Eater and Madison Park News posted pictures of the floor plans that were on display Tuesday.

Eater also mentioned that Hill Country Chicken, the fried chicken spinoff of the out of price range Texas barbecue joint, should be opening “late summer.” Let’s hope that the prices for fried chicken and biscuits are better than for all that tasty, but pricey barbecue.

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On Madison and 27th Street, Choza Taqueria has a giant sign up in the window of the old Burger Best Coffee Shop. The sign seems a little overproduced for anything particularly authentic, and the Choza website looks like it could be just another Chipotle, but I’ll give it a chance. The site doesn’t offer much information about a timeline for opening other than “Coming Soon,” but another location is opening downtown near the Municipal Building as part of the Open Air Cafe that Andrea has been investigating over on the Downtown section of Midtown Lunch, so keep an eye out there for more details.

Just a couple blocks away from Eataly, another huge grocery store is already open. Trader Joe’s hit Chelsea on Monday, taking over the old Barnes and Noble space on 21st Street and 6th Avenue. My only attempts to go to a Trader Joe’s were rebuffed by the hordes at Union Square and the strollers in Cobble Hill, so I can’t speak to what makes this place so exciting, but its reputation for low prices and mass market knockoffs certainly make it a good source for snacks to keep in the office drawer.

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The Limelight Marketplace opened in May to much agitation from former club kids all over the city. Having never spent too much (any) time on the club scene and not caring much for the shopping options, I’ve been much more concerned with the delayed opening of the Manhattan branch of famed Brooklyn Pizzeria Grimaldi’s. As a Brooklyn native, I’m somewhat skeptical of how well this will work out, once it has finally opened, but excited about the prospect. I love the pizza at Grimaldi’s but haven’t had it for the better part of the decade because of the ridiculous lines of tourists.

This last one isn’t open for lunch or in our price range, but it is interesting enough that I want to check it out. Nuela on 24th Street between Broadway and 6th finally opened up shop on Monday after months of delays and staff changes.

Even for dinner, Nuela is a splurge, but still on my radar just for all the delicious sounding items listed on the menu Thrillist posted a couple days ago. I’m a sucker for anyone offering grilled heart, but that’s just me.

Among the less unreasonably prices items are a couple sandwiches, including a suckling pig cubano, that range from $10-12. I’m holding out hope that they’ll be serving a menu of lunch specials that hit the ML price points once they’ve gotten settled in.

Update: Oh right, I promised Thai food:

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East Village Thai spot, Rhong TIam is opening a lunch friendly Rhong Tiam Express location at 31 East 21st Street between Park and Broadway. The website has remarkably little information about the opening date, but if you walk by, there are menus available. I’ve been ogling over one for the last week.

They’ve got all the standard Thai noodles, curries and salads, but what really excites me about this place are the roti wraps. I know roti from the West Indian curry goat and chicken wraps I grew up eating. The Asian variety is often lighter, fluffier and very accommodating for the sweeter Thai and Malaysian curries. They even offer orders of roti alone with curry dipping sauce. I’ really looking forward to this one.

With all this coming up over the next few months in Flatiron, I’m pretty sure we’ll all be eating well. There’s a lot here I’m looking forward to. If you know of other news, deals or upcoming restaurants in the area, email editor@midtownlunch.com or let us know in the comments.


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