PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Andrew”

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 Andrew, a Finance Manager who moonlights as a street food tour guide.

Name: Andrew

Age: 30

Occupation: Finance Manager/tour guide

Where in Midtown do you work? International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, 37th St and 5th Ave (and I run tours for Turnstile Tours)

Favorite Kind of Food: It depends on what I’m fancying for lunch that day – usually something Caribbean hits the spot.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: I can’t stand eating anything wrapped in plastic or out of a refrigerator case for lunch. I like to eat something hot and fresh, especially this time of year.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I love eating from carts – that’s probably where I eat 90% of my lunches. The selection along 6th Avenue is so great, it’s hard to pick even just a couple that are my favorite. The oxtail at Trini Paki Boys (43rd St) is perhaps my favorite street meal in New York; if they’re out of it, their chicken and rice – especially with the tamarind sauce – is probably my second favorite. I also love the King Kati Roll from Biryani Cart (45th St), and the talapia and rice from Kwik Meal (46th St), but those are well-known staples of the Midtown street food scene. Whenever they have it, the lengua taco from El Rey del Sabor is fantastic, as is their spicy pork. And because I love getting a nice piece of fish for under $6, the fried whiting and chips from Kim’s Aunt Kitchen is great.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? If I’m in a rush, I will usually get a burrito from Cafe 37 (on 37th btw. 5+6th) down the block from my office. They’re pretty good, and a good deal ($6.50 with fresh baked chips).

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch Whenever I feel like taking a long stroll at lunch time, I make my way up to Park Avenue north of Grand Central, and my usual stop there is Uncle Gussy’s. It’s worth the walk for their souvlaki.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? I think it would have to be somewhere in Southeast Asia – Singapore, Malaysia, or Hong Kong. That’s where you’ll find some of the best street food in the world, and that’s all really want for lunch. Plus, it’s warm/

Anything you’d like to ask the midtown lunch readers? Do you eat from street carts, and why or why not?

Got an answer for Andrew? Put it in the comments. Want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate)? Email


  • Fred is the freak.

    Yes, I eat from carts because it hits all of the right buttons, it’s cheap, fast, and good, as long as you go to the right places. You don’t get that combo often, which is nice.

  • FREAK OF TH……..*heavy sigh*

    *walks away slowly, head hung low*

  • Why do I eat at street carts, the quality, price and variety of food can’t be beat.

    Plus it’s an easy commute from my job as a guy with a guitar case that people throw loose change in outside Madison Square Park.

  • I like the cut of your jib, sir

  • I think most people eat from carts for the same reasons (cheap, tasty, wide variety), and don’t eat from carts for the same reasons (long lines, delicate stomach, cleanliness unknowable).

  • This isn’t Andrew… its Rick Moranis circa 1985

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I don’t eat meat from a cart due to cleanliness issues. Is it really safe for that white sauce to sit out on a hot summer day? Where is the chicken and other meats stored before it is cooked (I don’t see a refrigerator)? Where is the food stored while the cart is not in operation? Did the cart owner wash his hands after using the bathroom? After touching money? I realize some of these concerns are present in brick and mortar restaurants, but much less so. And I’d prefer to support a brick and mortar restaurant that is paying money for its space.

    That all being said, I WILL eat ice cream from a truck as well as desserts.

    • I think the important point here is that yes, these problems are present with brick and mortar restaurants, but you don’t see them there. You can’t hide anything at a cart, and people should see that as a good thing, because they can educate themselves about the rules and see when they are being broken. If you see a guy touch money and touch food with his bare hand, don’t eat there – that’s against regulations. If you see someone improperly handling meat, don’t eat there. But don’t judge every street vendor based on sketchy things you’ve seen at some carts. Most vendors use practices that are clean, sanitary, and safe for the public. And lines are usually a good indicator – carts rely on regular customers, and if they make people sick, they don’t come back.

      • To add, the cart workers that handle both food and money dispose of the gloves to take my money, then get new gloves.

        Most carts (and trucks) that I eat at have cold boxes — there’s typically a generator, after all — and/or ice tubs that get new ice as needed. As they typically drive home each night, it’s easy enough to figure they’re using refrigerators for the food they can save. They do get visits from the health inspectors, like everyone else that serves food.

    • “I realize some of these concerns are present in brick and mortar restaurants, but much less so”

      how can you say that with any kind of certainty? i think the openess of a cart makes them MUCH cleaner and more cautious of doing something that may scare off a customer. You dont know what happens behind the closed doors of a brick and mortar. they can blow a snot rocket in your lunch and you’d be none the wiser.

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