PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Sandy”

Every Tuesday we turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Broadway theaters are just as much a part of Midtown as the big office buildings. So this week we’re excited to welcome Sandy, a theater critic who hates McDonald’s and used ML to get over her fear of street meat.

Name: Sandy

Age: 63

Occupation: Theatre Critic

Where in Midtown do you work? Mostly Times Square/Hell’s Kitchen

Favorite Kind of Food: Eclectic (virtually all)

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Fast (McDonald’s, etc.)

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: For a spur-of-the-moment Bryant Park picnic, I’ll stop in at Zeytinz (on 40th btw. 5+6th) for the Mediterranean cold buffet, especially the curried chicken salad, and some impeccable fruit (if you have a Times Square Alliance Card, they give a good discount). But I might get distracted en route by Cafe China’s (on 37th btw. Mad+5th) nostalgic atmosphere and well-priced pan-fried lamb with scallion. In the shadow of the New York Times building, I’m susceptible to Boi Noodle’s (on 40th btw. 7+8th) assorted banh mi. For a “walking lunch,” especially if running late, I’ll grab some fresh-made spanakopita and/or galakatoboureko at Poseidon Greek Bakery (on 9th btw. 44+45th).

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? I like the strapped-actor pricing and unapologetically brusque service at Cafe Edison (they make an exemplary Reuben). Also a bargain, and within easy reach of Theatre Row: the unremarkable but pleasantly unrushed Westways Diner (on 9th & 44th). Oh, and the spiffy new cafe at the Signature Center (New York’s answer to London’s National Theatre), which could price-gouge its captive audience but chooses not to.

For a splurge, we keep returning to Five Napkin Burger: sometimes only a super-juicy two-hander with caramelized onions, gruyere, and rosemary aioli will do. For a special treat, and to impress out-of-towners, we’ll head to the West Bank Cafe. Prices aren’t at all exorbitant, given an inventive and expertly rendered New American menu (butternut squash gnocchi!), and discreet celebrity sightings are virtually guaranteed.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch Street meat carts (I hadn’t dared).

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Paris, Rome, Madrid … or, in fact, New York, where all the cuisines of the world collide.

Anything you’d like to ask the midtown lunch readers? Please just keep the good recommendations coming!

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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