Flatiron Lunch: Desmond’s Is Good Food is a Dive Atmosphere

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.

So I have long been a fan of Desmond’s for after-work drinks. Mamacita gave a fairly accurate review previously that it is falling apart and has some interesting smells. But, in my opinion, that is really part of the charm. And it doesn’t hurt that Anthony Bourdain used to go there in-between double shifts as Chef of Les Halles which is just a block south.

I don’t remember exactly when I noticed their massive lunch special signs out front, but I was drawn in by the “Berger and a Burger” (Radeberger and a cheeseburger) for $9. Radeberger is a nice crispy German pilsner that goes really well with greasy food.

It turns out that they have lunch specials everyday from 12pm-3pm. In addition to Berger and burger on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they offer a sandwich with a Blue Moon (also for $9) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The options for this special include corned beef, roast beef, turkey, ham and chicken. It is good to know you can get a boozy bar lunch everyday of the week!

The interior is really something special, and by special, I don’t mean in the nice and sparkly way. In the up and coming neighborhood of NoMad, it is nice to know that a dark and dingy whole-in-the-wall like this is still thriving. This is not the lunch spot for everyone. For example, your coworkers who only eat salads… don’t bother bringing them here (not that there aren’t a few salads on the menu.) Instead, come with your coworkers who prefer greasy food in an authentic environment.

The day I went in was Berger and Burger special so, of course, I had to get it. I ordered it with cheddar (but the options include American, Swiss, Colby Jack and Cheddar), and it came with a slice of cheese on top and bottom of the meat. While the whole burger was not as high quality as Spotted Pig (it is thinner and not exploding with flavor), it wasn’t trying to be like that. Instead, think of it as a the perfect bar burger. And it came with fries that despite being steak cut still managed to be wonderfully crispy. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the burger costs $5 with the Radeberger at $4. As the waitress pointed out and I agree, at $5, this is a better deal and better quality than the local fast food just a block or two away.

My friend decided to order the fish and chips to try something from the menu (also, a review of two burgers would have been boring.) It arrived with two pieces and both were nice and crispy. They were easy to pick up and dip into the tartar sauce. Unfortunately, it had a little bit of a fishy smell, but it was very faint, and didn’t taste off at all.

In addition to the advertised lunch specials, Desmond’s also has a huge menu with barely an item over $10. Instead of showing you my not-so-great photos of the main menu, I think it makes sense to just visit the website here. If you are not partaking in the $9 beer and a sandwich/burger special, keep your options open. In addition to the extensive normal menu, they also feature daily specials. On the day I went in, the specials of the day included shepherds pie ($8.50) and chicken pot pie ($9.50).

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

  • I love a dive, and this is my mecca.
  • The food is better than your average dive.
  • The specials are a great deal, and the menu keeps going.

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

  • Ewwwwwwww. This place is gross, and I am not going here.
  • With Gastro Pubs on the rise, Desmond’s needs to make some improvements to the food.

Desmond’s Tavern, 433 Park Avenue South (btw 29th and 30th Street), (212) 684-9472


  • you couldn’t pay me to eat food made at Desmonds.

  • That used to be my main lunch spot when I was a fulltime alchi, as opposed to the more occasional binge drinker I am today! The burgers were—unique–in that they have a very special “desmonds” taste. I haven’t had one going on 7 yrs, as I cut out drinking at lunch, but I can still taste that burger and fries like I just ate them five minutes ago….and the smell of the bar itself, very—unique….

    Hope the drinks are still cheap, and by cheap I mean captain and coke for 4.50 cheap…

  • I hope the Radeberger is crisp, not “crispy.”

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