Don’t Be Mad, But I Was Pleasantly Surprised By Toasties

I have passed by Toasties (on 49th btw 6+7) a hundred times over the years (usually going to and from Sapporo) and never had any desire to go in. The sea of button-down shirts always seemed too daunting for just a sandwich at a place I assumed to be just another generic deli-type spot. A few months ago, I began to consider the fact that if this place is always so jammed, maybe there’s something to it. And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised by huge sandwiches in combinations I haven’t seen elsewhere.
Toasties really is well-ordered chaos. You need to know that there are three lines: First walk back to the sandwiches and wait to order — this takes about 2 minutes, tops, no matter how long the line is. Then, take your ticket and walk 10 feet over to the next register to pay. There is typically no line to pay. Then you wait under 5 minutes in what looks like an impossibly large crowd for them to call your number. How do they do it? I counted 10-15 people behind the counter at any given time constructing sandwiches during the lunch rush! I have never been inside the establishment for over 10 minutes, ever. Now that’s efficiency!

The sandwiches here are very large, twice as long as a Metro card, rivaling the size and weight of a burrito. I always find hot sandwiches more satisfying than cold ones, so I’ve gravitated away from the cold stuff. That said, be careful, because the insides can scorch your tongue.

The sandwich I’ve enjoyed most so far is the Emily Waits (grilled honey maple turkey with melted muenster cheese, spinach, tomato and apple butter sauce), which I had in a wrap. I know most ML’ers prefer the heft of a roll, but I find that I get more of the good stuff (the filling) in wrap form. I was not disappointed here — the wrap was stuffed with turkey that showed signs of caramelization from the flattop. No skimping on ingredients here! The apple butter sauce added a sweet element of mess to what would otherwise be a pretty easily eaten sandwich, so be wary of drips while eating in your finest office clothes.

Deviating from my traditional wrap, I ordered Eggplant Parm on a whole wheat roll. I was actually surprised that the roll was so soft, not at all crusty on the outside. I enjoyed the bread, but if you’re one to prefer a roll with some texture to it, you might want to opt for a hero instead. My one gripe was that the eggplant breading could have used a little seasoning, but otherwise it was a nice, safe eggplant parm.

The only sandwich that I wouldn’t recommend so far is the E-Z, another turkey-based wrap with mushrooms that a colleague tried last week. With its 50 shades of brown, it tasted as monochromatic as it looked. Pass.

So, I never thought I would say this, but I’ll definitely be returning to Toasties to check out their extensive menu of sandwich combos. Up next, I’m considering the Thanksgiving, since any celebration centered around food is my kind of holiday, and the sandwich is exactly how it sounds. Or, perhaps I’ll just continue happily enjoying the Emily Waits. Either way, if the like at Sapporo is too long for your hunger pains and you need something fast and filling, Toasties might be a surprisingly viable option.

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

  • I need a good warm sandwich spot, and Potbelly is so overplayed at this point.
  • These huge sammies keep me full til dinner!
  • I’m digging all the different sandwich combos that I can’t get elsewhere.
  • I need a reliable spot for one of those days, I can be in and out in under 10 minutes flat.

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

  • Toasties? Really?!
  • Isn’t this a generic deli? And a chain, no less? Pass.
  • Sandwiches are boring — where’s my street meat?
  • Sapporo is literally right there — ramen, please!

Toasties, multiple locations


  • That actually looks pretty good… I’m all for the elevation of the generic deli to at least include some unique options in terms of tastiness and decent hot sandwiches.

  • Toasties is at the top of my chain generic deli pecking order…
    Pret a manger
    Europa/Cafe Metro/Pax/Food Exchange

    missing some…

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    I worked next door to the Toasties in Union Square and it was always good and reliable. Their Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich is GREAT.

  • Subway bitches! SUBWAY!!!!!! YAY!!!!! Subway rules! Let’s post more about subway!

    (If you really want a good sub, go to sal kris and charlies in queens. I will only eat subs from there now. Fuck all chains and delis, generic or otherwise…better to forgo than get robbed).

    • I know SK&C is your Golden Boy at the moment, but there are plenty of non-chains with good sandwiches. Hell, I was compelled to walk to Park Italian for lunch today, and came away pleased.

      That said, Toasties is perfectly fine for a lot of things – their pastrami will even do well in a pinch. I’ve said that since they opened one at 51st and Madison.

    • Goatsie, c’mon, Defonte’s at 21st/3rd is worth a visit for good subs nearby!

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  • I have been a fan of Toasties since it opened as well. Let’s face it, if you want a cold cut-type sandwich, your only options are chains, generics, and tourist spots (carnegie, katz, 2nd ave, etc). There’s really no old school, italian/german/kosher delis in NYC. @Goats, i appreciate the rec for the place in queens, but this is for Midtown lunch :)

    My Fav is the italian (just like what i grew up on from the northern nj italian delis). I also like their tuna, roast beef, and almost all chicken sammies.

    I also really like that its a place that’s easy to request a custom sandwich. When I think of old school delis, they didn’t have many specials. everyone knew what they wanted and ordered accordingly.

  • Defontes is ok, but skc kills it. 7.75 for a far more meaty italian sandwich.So does lionis in brooklyn. Defontes nickis special is nothing compared to the italian at skc or #139 at lionis in brooklyn. Lionis makes a high quality enormous sandwich, which I heartily prefer to defontes. Yes, its an hr each wway but well worth it! I loved defontes when they opened, but the last few times I’ve had it, I’ve been gravely disappointed with their skimpiness.

  • Park italian has peeked my interest. I may have to try it…

  • I thought Toasties was dreadful the first time I went. Bland, bland, bland. Went today, and it was disappointing, but not dreadful. Their bread is terrible – if they stepped that up it would make a huge difference. Their whole wheats have no color or flavor, look like the kind of whole wheat Wonder produces. I’m a little more interested in their offering of red cabbage, cukes, and such on sandwiches, which you don’t see at most delis. Maybe there’s hope yet…

  • I love Toasties. I go to the one on 48th between Madison and Fifth. It is always packed but once you get the hang of how the place works you can be in and out in a few minutes with a delicious sandwich. My favorite is the Union Square on a roll with chipotle mayo instead of dijon mustard. The sandwiches cost about $9.

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    Writing a review on toasties?! This blog has really gone downhill…

    • That’s ridiculous. Why wouldn’t there be a review of Toasties on this blog? It’s the exact kind of place most people in midtown what to know about for lunch.

      • As evidenced by the 19 comments on this post.

        Arguing on Midtown Lunch that there are good sandwich shops in Brooklyn is like gloating the cheesesteaks are better in Philly than in Midtown Manhattan.

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    Steam table. I can’t stress enough how good the steam table options are at Toasties. The Thanksgiving sandwich is really good, but I prefer their hot pastrami sandwich (called the Sloop Dan B., of which I have no point of reference for the name) is amazing. Their meatloaf is also very good, but you must like it spicy.

    They often have varying options back there, as well. Beef brisket, chicken parmesan, chicken marsala, roast pork loin, and some others. Their choices of mashed potatoes, stuffing, steamed vegetables, mac & cheese, and sometimes mashed sweet potatoes – all very good.

    I do enjoy their cold deli sandwiches, but I usually just bypass that, and go straight to the steam table. It takes even less time if you go that route.

  • I had a hot pastrami sandwich from the steam table (51st street location) and it was pretty freaking fantastic.

  • You know what… Toasties looks like a generic deli, but the sandwiches are legit.

    I had the Chipotle Chicken sandwich. It was large. Juices were dripping out of it and it tasted great. The sandwiches border or cross over $10. They have a lot of calorie rich sandwich choices (cordon bleu comes to mind). I need to try more sandwiches.

  • Good tip: order your sandwiches on Seamless and they will be waiting for you when you walk in. The on on 51st has a separate table in the back just for web and phone orders.

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