PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “John”

Every Tuesday we turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week it’s John, a media relations exec who hates boiled zucchini.

Name: John

Age: 47

Occupation: Media relations executive

Where in Midtown do you Work?: Goodman Media, 7th Ave between 49th and 50th

Favorite Kind of Food: Turkish, with Italian, German, and Japanese as close seconds. Dim sum, especially chive buns and chicken feet. And – don’t laugh – I love English food.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Boiled zucchini – I mean, why would anyone do this to zucchini? I will eat anything else, including worms (actually beetle larvae), which I’ve had a few times, notably in Mexico on a tortilla with onions and peppers. It was good, but also had a taste reminiscent of putting your tongue on an open light socket.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Hallo Berlin Express on 9th and 50th – “The Freakin’ Deal”, choice of one wurst, one German meatball, potatoes, red cabbage and winekraut, $9.00. Margon (on 46th btw 6+7th), Cuban Sandwich $6. I love Margon’s ‘hole-in-the-wall’ size and even the crowded atmosphere. I’ve been a customer of Hallo Berlin since Rolf Babiel first founded the Vendy-winning cart on 54th and 5th in the mid-80s. I ate there maybe twice a week when I worked at NBC and as often as possible when I didn’t. I was very saddened when he passed away last year. I’m really happy that his family is keeping the restaurant on 9th and the beer garden on 10th going.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? The Jamaican Dutchy cart on 51st and 7th Avenue. The Jerk Chicken and Veggie Dinner Roast as standbys, but on Thursdays, Cow Foot and Stew Peas cannot be beat – one is as good as the other. MUST go Thursday. :) If in a rush, I admit to Terriyaki Boy on 7th and 49th – the Kara Age Curry lunch – $6.50; a real guilty pleasure. Real guilty.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? The Biriyani Cart on 46th and 6th; that’s just a reliably good and inexpensive choice, especially the Kati Rolls.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Here in NY?: the East Village, because there’s just so much there right now – great because of the sheer, diverse volume of choices. Anywhere in the world? Istanbul. I love Turkish food, and between street food, simits (sesame-seeded rings), the great seafood, teas, the number of new restaurants serving retro ‘Ottoman’ cuisine, and new cutting-edge restaurants, that’s where I’d want to be. I’m told by friends who know the city I’d be broke within about a week. :)

Anything you’d like to ask the ML readers? YES. Where is your favorite for Asian food? I visit the Bapcha Korean food cart often and Sapporo, both on 49th, but I’m still looking for recommendations and don’t mind taking a little hike to get there. Walking to lunch has replaced the gym for me. ;)

Got an answer for John? Put it in the comments. And as always, if you want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email


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