Flatiron Lunch: Rodeo’s Bar Lunch with a Side of Honky Tonk

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.

Rodeo Bar has always intrigued me, with live music and honky tonk decor. But, the fear of it being like Brother Jimmy’s kept me away all these years…until recently.

This type of lunch specials menu is normally all it takes to draw me in.

Since one photo wouldn’t capture the vibe of the decor.

I had to take a photo of this amazing chandelier. I’m pretty sure it won’t work with my average height ceilings, but a girl can dream.

And the space is filled with old signs (or at least signs made to look old), and slogans like “make beans not war”. I mean, they are good for your heart so that must help peace. And free peanuts!

Basically, Rodeo has a very laid back atmosphere during lunch. Elvis playing from the speakers (sorry, no live music during the day.) My recommendation is to go with co-workers whose company you actually enjoy – I think you are going to want to sit and chat.

A basket of warm tortilla chips with salsa came out right away and sealed the deal for me. No matter how the food was, I would keep coming back to try more things based on that one serving of chips and salsa. Anyone who knows me well knows that a basket of tortilla chips and salsa is a dangerous proposition. It definitely impacted my ability to finish my meal. (This photo is the “before” I did my damage.)

On my first visit, I ate in house and went for burger and beer ($8.95). It was an extra dollar to add cheddar, which seems fair. They asked how I wanted the burger cooked – medium. The cold Coors Light got me ready to enjoy the burger when it arrived (you also have the option of one other beer, which I think was PBR). The cheeseburger was good and on par with other burgers from a bar. It isn’t making a list of top burgers in New York, but I probably would have finished it if it wasn’t for all of the chips I already ate.

The bun had a nice char to the bottom, adding an additional level of flavor. The fries weren’t great, but perhaps it was because I filled up on chips and salsa, but really it was because they weren’t crispy.

On my next visit, I ordered the fried catfish sandwich to go. In addition to my take out order lacking chips and salsa, the sandwich needed lettuce or something…anything. It was all-round too bland and had a faint taste of freezer burn. When I added hot sauce at my desk that helped a little, but what doesn’t hot sauce help?

It came with a significant serving of fries, but they were the same fries I didn’t care for on my previous visit.

THE + (What people who like this place will say)

  • They had me at warm chips and salsa.
  • Respectable burger and cold beer.
  • I might start stealing decor elements from Rodeo.

THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)

  • Completely unenjoyable catfish sandwich.
  • Disappointing and not crispy fries.
  • This place is tacky looking.

Rodeo Bar , 375 3rd Avenue at the corner of 27th Street, (212) 683-6500


  • flatiron lunch has officially hit rock bottom. Rodeo bar? if you want a side of food poisoning, by all means….i can’t tell you how many people i know, including myself, who ate there and got some kind of “bug” immediately following….

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    Flatiron? 3rd and 27th? Murray Hill.

    • “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.”

      Goats, you get sick more often than anyone I know.

  • I never got food poisoning (or even heard of anyone who did get it) from Rodeo Bar, but I wouldn’t bother with it except for the free happy hour snacks, if they still have those. I agree that lumping Murray Hill in with Flatiron doesn’t seem intuitive at all.

    A side note about Rodeo Bar: A long time ago they used to bring in food from Pearson’s Texas Barbecue, the original NYC barbecue place. For a while Pearson’s was the only place in town that smoked with wood, long before the current craze for upscale ‘cue joints. Of course, the reheated bbq suffered from travelling and wasn’t nearly as good as the on-site version.

  • I was there a couple weeks ago for happy hour and had some bacon wrapped shrimp thing that was kind of great.

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    Rodeo Bar holds a dear place in my heart as a former resident of the neighborhood. It was well-known that you never touch the food there. But no one I knew ever went for the food.

    In addition to being the filming location of the climactic scene in “The Two Ninas,” Rodeo Bar has provided legions of young singles a place to drink and hook-up recklessly. That it is still apparently doing so today is a testament to its filthy greatness. It should be landmarked for that reason alone.

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