Flatiron Lunch: A Boozy $10 Lunch at the Original Lillie’s

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

I took the opening of Lillie’s in Midtown as I sign that I should head to the original Lillie’s on 17th Street to try their $10 lunch special- the same special that’s $13 at the location on 49th btw. B’way+8th. (Sorry, Midtown Lunch’ers!) Did I also mention that the special includes a beer? Who isn’t a fan of a greasy pub lunch with a beer?

I grabbed a chair at the very long bar with tons of seating and was greeted by a friendly bartender. I was a little disappointed with only 5 options on the lunch special: hamburger, chicken sandwich, welsh rarebit, grilled cheese with ham or warm beet salad. I thought about adding cheese for a $1 to have a cheeseburger, but I love Welsh Rarebit (or Rabbit as it is called on some of the Lillie’s menus) so I figured I would give it a go. Having noticed the comments on the Lillie’s post about the average fries, I employed a trick learned from a guy friend who is a picky eater and requested the fries extra crispy. Considering how much I dislike soggy fries, it normally ensures that my fries end up crispy.

When given the choice of beer to go with my meal, I was floored by my options. In addition to Blue Moon, Bud Light, Sam Adams Seasonal, they also offered Harpoon IPA, Lucky U Seasonal, Lillie’s Seasonal, and Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold. Beer Lovers take note, Captain Lawrence…with a meal…for $10. This is a serious beer for lunch. And as you can see, it was a serious pour.

Lillie’s has a great atmosphere and décor; it is laid back and charming. I particularly enjoyed all of the stained glass everywhere and carved wood. Like many pubs, they have two TVs featuring sports, but they aren’t the focus of the room. The staff was really friendly, and when I was in there, it was a nice mix of work people enjoying a long lunch and regulars dining solo at the bar.

After waiting for a very long time and several apologies from the bartender for the delay, my meal finally arrived. The bartender took one look at my plate and immediately offered to have it remade. Despite the fact I was incredibly hungry and getting a little tispy from the 6.0% ABV beer, it was clear the rarebit had been sitting under a heat lamp. I agreed to a redo, and thank goodness I did, as sandwich round 2 had the right amount of gooey cheese and was hot.

I am going to be honest – the rarebit was not the best I have had, but not the worst. I wish they had prepared it the traditional way by mixing the cheese, mustard and Worcestershire sauce all together first, but instead, the mustard and Worcestershire were mixed without the cheese. I like that they didn’t skimp on the mustard, since I had a few bites that were sinus clearing. I also thought the Country White Bread they used added greatly to the taste and crunch. Also, the fries came out perfectly crispy with enough of a potato taste inside. A guy sitting next to me at the bar ordered the burger, and it seemed like a good size with the regular toppings (lettuce, onion, and tomatoes.) All in, I will be going back to Lillie’s for another leisurely beer lunch.The +

The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Like Mad Men, I am always up for a boozy lunch
  • I like simple and good bar/pub food
  • Great atmosphere for a meal

The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Lillie’s needs step up the quality of their food
  • Only 5 options for lunch special is inadequate
  • $10 doesn’t include tax and tip. Over budget!

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, 13 E 17th St (btw. 5th and B’way), 212-337-1970


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