Archive for 'Carnegie John’s Cart'

StreetSteakPalooza: The Search For A Great Cheesesteak on the Street

If you’re the type of person that reads Midtown Lunch, you probably like cheesesteaks. Lucky for you, plenty of decent Philly-style options have opened up in recent years… like this one, this one, and this one. These places are all great, but you may find it difficult to stay under $10. Sometimes, I just crave a big gut-buster that won’t bust my wallet too. So, I began a search for midtown’s best cheap cheesesteaks. Initially, my intention was to order as “traditional” a Philly cheesesteak as possible at each destination, but it soon dawned on me that there’s really nothing traditional or authentic about ordering cheap-ass cheesesteaks from street carts in New York City.

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What Happened to Carnegie John’s?: We got an email from luncher Ray yesterday noticing that Carnegie John's has not been at his usual spot on 56th and 7th Avenue. It's not the first time the legendary burger and chicken cart has disappeared. It went missing a few years ago due to some licensing issues. That might be the case again, or perhaps a vacation? Or the cart might have to be brought in for its annual inspection. Anybody have any word on the cart? Let's hope it returns very soon.

Is Carnegie John’s Cart MIA?

Carnegie John's, Midtown NYCIt looks like the Kosher Oasis cart is back on 47th and 6th today, so we can move on to far more important matters… this comment on the post about the Carnegie John’s Cart (on 56th & 7th Ave.): “Did Carnegie John pack it in?  It’s closing in on a month and a half and no burgers….” A few weeks could be a vacation.  Over a month smells like a permit issue. Or something worse.  Let’s hope this isn’t permanent.  Anybody have any intel?  Put it in the comments, or email

Street Meat Palooza 2: Our New York City Chicken/Lamb Over Rice Showdown Crowns A New Champion


One year ago this month 20 Midtown Lunch’ers converged in Bryant Park to taste 13 plates of street meat and rate them in an event that became known as Street Meat Palooza.  The Famous Halal Cart on 53rd & 6th was crowned the winner, and we vowed to return one year later to give another set of carts a chance at unseating the champ.  Last week a new group of lunchers once again converged in Bryant Park to blind taste test and rate 15 different street meat carts, many of them nominated by you.  Food was consumed, scores were given, and a new winner has been crowned.  Ladies and gentleman, Midtown Lunch’ers, and street food enthusiasts from around the world, I’m excited to give you STREET MEAT PALOOZA 2.

At Lunch Now: Street Meat Palooza 2

Some of you may be asking, “What exactly is street meat?”  Well, for the purposes of this contest it is an order of chicken and lamb, served over rice, with “white sauce” and hot sauce.  In Midtown it is often referred to as “Halal Food” (the Muslim equivalent of Kosher), but in this case the method of preparation (or its degree of holiness) is not important.  As long as you serve something called chicken and lamb over rice (with white sauce and hot sauce) it could be Palooza’d.  7 carts from last year were granted automatic entry, while the other 8 were culled from your nominations.  Carts received separate scores for chicken, lamb, rice, white sauce, hot sauce, and value, plus received an overall score (the most important.)  Every judge was also asked to choose a top 5 at the very end.

Keep in mind there are no losers in Street Meat Palooza, just different degrees of winning (I see the good in all street meat).  Just getting picked to participate meant that somebody likes the cart, and every single entry showed up in at least one judge’s top 5.  In other words, this isn’t a contest as much as a celebration- and just because a new champion has been crowned doesn’t meat that last year’s winner is no longer great.  It just means that on any given day, any number of amazing Midtown street food vendors might be putting out “The Best” plate of street meat.

Here are the results…

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Carnegie John’s… the Best Cart Burger in Midtown

Well, the line at Carnegie John’s has finally died down enough for me to try it.  NY Mag wreaked havoc on the Midtown cart scene last month when they released their street cart issue.  It spotlighted some Midtown Lunch favorites (The Jamaican Dutchy, Hallo Berlin, Kim’s Aunt Kitchen & Kwik Meal), but also opened my eyes to a cart I had never heard of.  The legend that is Carnegie John’s.

Carnegie John's Menu, Midtown NYCThe cart is named for its location, right next to Carnegie Hall, where John serves up Hamburgers, Chicken, Gyro, Steak & Shish Kebab, all cooked to order.  Which partially explains the line.  Ever since the NY Mag issue came out, the line at this cart has been out of control- and if you want a burger, you’ve got to go on the early side.  He usually runs out by 1:30.

What I got, food cart porn and a +/- after the jump… Read more »