Flatiron Lunch: Openings and Closings

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.

It’s been a while since we looked at openings and closings in the Flatiron area (read: I have been slacking.) So it is time for a proper round-up.


(NSFW?) Museum of Sex opened a restaurant. You heard me correctly. I’m really not sure I would feel comfortable eating at a place with exhibitions titled Universe of Desire, The Sex Lives of Animals, and My Life Ruined by Sex: The Works of William Kent. I haven’t seen a menu yet, but per a previous statement, “It’s going to be eclectic and artful.” M-kay.

Play (Museum of Sex Restaurant), 1 East 27th Street (btwn Fifth and Madison Avenues), (212) 447-PLAY

The after-work bar scene has been exponentially exploding in the Flatiron area, although most of the new spots aren’t ML budget friendly. Two in particular caught my eye. First, the same owners of the new-ish indoor beer garden Houston Hall (aka meat market) opened Flatiron Hall. I haven’t been, but if it can be slightly less douchy as the downtown branch, I could be a winner. (Thanks to our friends at Mad Park News for the photo.)

Flatiron Hall, 38 West 26th Street (between Broadway and 6th Avenues), (646) 790-3200

And if that isn’t enough, a Belgian beer café  is under-construction around the corner. With over 60 locations world-wide, we can hope that this new spot will bring some delicious Belgian beer and eats to the area.

Belgian Beer Café, Northwest corner of 26 Street and 5th Avenue

In the spring, I spotted an amazing sign in from of Justin’s Pizza on the corner of 30 and 3rd Avenue. All-You-Can-Eat Pizza buffet. Sounds like something Zach Brooks would be interested in! Well, it closed before I could give it a try and has been replaced by Dough Boys Pizza. They don’t seem to have the same buffet offer, but we can hope they have a good slice (or a grandma square.)

Dough Boys Pizza, 431 3rd Avenue (at corner of 30th Street), (212) 686-1211

It not really ML news, but exciting general food news, Maison Kayser opened just south of the Flatiron. Sure, they have some sandwiches for under $10 (including a Paris ham and gruyere on baguette($8) that I imagine would be very good, if on the small side). The real reason to go here is for the baguette. It is incredible.

Maison Kayser, 921 Broadway at the corner of 21st Street, (212) 979-1600

There has been a proliferation of generic lunch market spots in our neighborhood recently. I have done a fly-by on all of them glancing at the menu to see if anything looks interesting. So far, nothing has caught my eye, but I wanted to throw it to you the readers to see if I was too hasty to judge.

Flavors, Corner of West 23 Street at 6th Avenue, (212) 924-9500

Salad Pangea, 303 Park Avenue South (btwn 23 and 24th Streets), (212) 228-4003

MyDanoz Fine Foods, 279 5th Avenue (btwn 29th and 30th Streets), (212) 592-0762

And now for the CLOSINGS:

Shorty’s learned the hard way the rule of supply and demand – really, that there isn’t enough of a demand for a Shorty’s at Madison at 27th AND a Lil’ Shorty’s on 31st between Park and Lex. Lil’ Shorty’s closed and has yet to be replaced. Shorty’s on Madison is still hoping and boozing with their liquor license.

Lil’ Shorty’s, 133 East 31 Street (btwn Park and Lexington)

In a closing I support, New York Burger Co. on Park Avenue has shuttered. I was never impressed with the burgers (especially with Shake Shack a block away.) And the fries are some of the worst in town. So no love lost here.

New York Burger Co., 303 Park Avenue South (btwn 22nd and 23rd Streets)

One of Flatiron Lunch’s first posts by Jason Lam was about a Chinese bakery called Jess Bakery. Even though it is slightly out of bounds, I had revisited Jess Bakery to try more items on the menu and consider a revisit and new post. Unfortunately, Jess Bakery has now closed. I guess that means no congee or Chinese pastries.

Jess Bakery, 221 East 23rd Street (btwn 2nd Ave and 3rd Avenues)

Got any Flatiron news to share? Email editor@midtownlunch.com or post it in the comments.


  • Houston Hall is owned by the Heartland comglomerate, no? I know the beers are Kelso, which are the better beers brewed by the Heartland brewmaster from the same facility.

  • I used to like the Flavors down near Broad Street (or on Broad) for the make-your-own pasta station felt more generous and the vodka sauce was good. But it’s been awhile since I worked near one, so that’s all I remember.

  • I am still heartbroken about Jess Bakery closing. Their pork buns and sesame red bean balls were unbeatable. Apparently the landlord raised the rent astronomically and they couldn’t afford to stay.

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