Archive for 'BBQ'

Flatiron Lunch: Your First Look at BBQue’s Fast Food Barbecue

It’s one of the curses of New York City that some of the best foods that would be cheap eats where they came from are super pricey here. In the years since quality barbecue arrived in New York with places like Blue Smoke and Hill Country, it’s been the rare spot that has been anything like a Midtown Lunch. Nearby, I was happy to find some good deals at RUB NYC, but it has stood as the exception to the rule. But, has that changed?

Back in September, I reported that BBQue’s Smoke Shack was opening up on 6th Avenue just a few doors down from the Limelight. It’s now open for business and this week, I took the opportunity to get a closer look.

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Mexicue’s Brick & Mortar Is Supposed to Open Today, And Here’s Your First Look


I was pretty excited when I saw the first reports of Mexicue bringing its Mexican/Barbecue fusion to the northwest edge of Flatiron Lunch bounds. The area, south of Penn Station and around FIT has precious little good or interesting food to draw lunchers so having a solid spot like Mexicue will be huge.

According to Fork in the Road they had their soft opening last night and the first day of lunch service is today starting at 11am!  Last week, they offered a preview of the new shop to friends and family as a test of the ordering system and we snuck in to get you a look.

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Mexicue Packs a Ton of Flavor Into a (Very) Small Package

Mexicue Menu

We have long dreamed of the day that New York would get their very own KOGI Truck, the infamous Los Angeles based Korean taco vendors that teased us back in June of last year, before pulling the rug out from under us just a month later. Kogi has spawned a host of fusion taco imitators on the West Coast… to the point where it seems like every new truck that hits the street in L.A. has at least some kind of taco option- regardless of what kind of food it is.  Here in NYC, we’re not so lucky…  until now that is!  Enter the Mexicue truck, a scrappy new entrant in the street food scene which, through savvy marketing, has amassed significant buzz. We’ve watched with growing curiosity for the past week as the Mexicue crew zealously tweeted their location and wares to over 650 followers.

Expectations in check, I decided to check it out for myself.

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Wafels and Dinges is Now the Johnny Rockets of the Food Truck World

Wafels and Dinges

After a few months of being out of commission, Wafels and Dinges hit the road again a few weeks ago with a brand new, tricked out truck.  To celebrate, they gave away free wafels on Thursday… so naturally I was there to wait on line and get my bit of free waffle goodness. The new truck is quite a sight to behold, with a giant lit up menu and newly installed speakers that pump 50s music from Sirius/XM satellite radio onto the street.  If you’re really lucky, they’ll throw on the kind of annoying/kind of amazing “Waffle Song” while you’re waiting on line.  It’s really loud, and I’m guessing at some point it’s going to get them kicked out of at least one of their regular spots.  After15 minutes of hanging out, and listening to music, I thought for sure the guys serving the waffles were going to jump on top of the truck and start singing and dancing.

Wafels and Dinges

For free waffle hour, you got a half portion of whichever kind of wafel you wanted (brussels or liege) topped with two dinges (I went with banana and chocolate.)  Delicious.  Of course, the fact that it was free helped tremendously.  I’ve never actually done a proper post about the Wafels and Dinges Truck, which spends a few days a week in Midtown.  As you may or may not know, they not only sell waffles with sweet toppings but they also have savory waffle topped with BBQ pork and cole slaw that’s perfect for lunchtime. I posted about this when they introduced it back in October, but never actually got to try it for myself.

Well, as long as I was there…

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FreeFoods BBQ Brisket Sandwich is Another Triumph (And if They Raise the Price I’ll Kill ‘Em)


I think most people will agree that the biggest surprise of the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge was the duck pastrami reuben created by FreeFoods NYC (on 45th btw. 5+6th & 52nd btw. 3rd+Lex). It was so delicious, that most of us were willing to ignore the fact that it was kind of small, and very expensive ($9.95). It was especially hard for those who vowed never to step food in a place that serves the kind of super expensive raw/vegan/organic/yuppie food that FreeFoods is known for. But the sandwich was freakin’ awesome. And in the end taste triumphs over everything.

And then the unthinkable thing we knew was going to happen, happened. They raised the price. Part of the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge is that everything had to be under $10… so they introduced it at $9.95, only to raise it to $12 now that the sandwich is so popular. Normally I would institute an immediate boycott, but FreeFoods was too smart for that. They simultaneously introduced a new $9.75 sandwich, that sounded too good to pass up. It’s not part of the Sandwich Challenge, but the owner admitted that they made it with the Midtown Lunch readers in mind. Sloppy Leo’s Brisket Melt.

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Spanky’s BBQ is Closing Tomorrow

Eater is reporting that “Heartland Brewery’s barbecue joint Spanky’s (on 43rd btw. B’way+7th) will close its doors tomorrow after a private farewell party. They’ll replace it in March with HB Burger.” If Heartland Brewery is any indication, H(eartland)B(rewery) Burger will definitely not be a Midtown Lunch (and I’m not just saying that because I still haven’t gotten over the onion ring debacle during my one and only visit to Heartland Brewery.) Not sure if the failure of a big, touristy BBQ joint in Times Square is good news or bad news for Famous Dave’s BBQ, opening soon on 47th btw. 6+7th.

Famous Dave’s BBQ Chain is Coming to Midtown

Famous Dave's BBQ Coming to Manhattan

According to a tipster, and confirmed on their website, World famous (?) BBQ chain Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que is opening their first Manhattan branch right smack dab in the middle of Midtown Lunch central (on 47th btw. 6+7th). I would be down with some good BBQ in these parts (right now, the Daisy May’s BBQ cart on 50th btw. 6+7th is about all I can fully get behind) but considering how many touristy, big box BBQ joints we already have in Midtown (Dallas BBQ, Virgil’s, & Spanky’s) this may not be the answer to our prayers.

I don’t have anything against BBQ chains (if Corky’s opened a NYC branch, I’d probably pass out from excitement), and I’ve never been to a Famous Dave’s, which apparently has locations all over the U.S., but the background info doesn’t seem reassuring: it was founded in Minnesota (huh?) about 15 years ago by the same guy who helped found the “Rainforest Cafe“. Sweet!

There is a menu posted on their website, but there aren’t any prices, so I’m not sure if this place is even going to fall under the Midtown Lunch price range. I’m not holding my breath. Have you been to a Famous Dave’s? Let us know in the comments if we should be excited…

A interior taken-through-the-cracks-of-the-plywood photo is after the jump (if such a thing excites you).

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At Lunch Now: It’s a Texas Red Kind of Day

It’s freakin freezing outside today, so I had no choice but to go for my favorite non-soup, gut warming lunch: a bowl of Texas style red chili from the Daisy May’s cart on 50th btw 6+7th. It’s a beanless chili (your co-workers will thank you) filled with big chunks of super tender beef. Cheese, sour cream, onions, and a tortilla come on the side, all for $7. I don’t know if the tiny cup of rice and beans was worth it, but I was glad to have it at the end to mix with the leftover sauce and condiments. Slightly spicy, completely satisfying, and most importantly- it warmed me up.

Missed the BABBP? It’s Daisy May’s for Lunch Today…

If you missed the one on the left this weekend, get the one on the right today in Midtown

It was a porktastic weekend for everybody who braved the heat and hit up the Big Apple BBQ Block Party this weekend.  I stopped by for a bit on Sunday and enjoyed my personal favorite: Ed Mitchell’s whole hog sandwich.  A creation just as amazing as it sounds, he literally takes a whole pig out of the smoker, and chops it down into sandwich form (you may say the secret ingredient is the crispy bits of skin.)  If you missed it, and now you’re craving some ‘cue (there are alot of meat photos from Madison Sq. Park floating around flickr today) there really is only one for lunch today in Midtown:  the Daisy May’s BBQ cart on 50th btw. 6+7th

I though everybody knew about this pretty famous cart, but you’d be surprised.  They used to have a couple more carts on the east side, and one downtown- but it looks like those are gone for good, leaving 50th as your only option.  (Actually the last time a Daisy May’s cart was on the east side was for the filming of that new Adam Sandler “Zohan” movie.  Anybody see the cart in the movie?)

Seeing as how you probably won’t want to eat outside today (“Feels Like” 102° + 43% humidity = a very sweaty Zach), the cart does a real good job of packaging up everything to take back to your desk.  If you do eat outside,  you might want to snag one of their awesome sweet teas.  At $4, it’s a little pricey, but you get to keep the mason jar.

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Matthew”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. Today it’s Matthew, a Strategic Sourcing Manager who assured me he was a Giants fan- which was a pre-requisite for today’s profile.  My little way of thanking the big blue for preserving the legacy of my precious 1972 Dolphins.  I also hate the Patriots (10 years in Boston as a Dolphins fan will do that to you).  Nothing about his profile says Giants fan, and he couldn’t get me a photo of himself wearing any Giants stuff in time… but I’m going to take his word for it.

 Name: Matthew


Strategic Sourcing Manager

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
34th St. & 8th Ave.

Favorite Kind of Food:
Italian followed closely by BBQ

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Indian. Love spicy food, but can’t handle the spices in Indian food.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Chicken Parmigiana hero at Manganaro’s Hero Boy on 9th Ave and 38th.  (I can tell this is going to spark comments already.  Are you sure it’s Hero Boy you love?  Or, do you like Manganaro’s old school deli next store.  Two different places.  Long and historical rivalry.  -zach)

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: The cafeteria in our building, which isn’t bad for a corporate cafeteria. They have great chicken wings!!

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Ressie Mae’s may she rest in peace! Chicken and waffles should be outlawed, but the combination is something not to be missed.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why?  San Francisco.  Great weather, beautiful walking city and it has the 2 criteria I require to consider living anywhere: great Italian and great Chinese food. Plus you can go down to the Wharf and get Dungeness crabs from a cart, sit with your feet over the side of the wharf and throw the shells in the Bay with that view!

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Where can a guy get a good rack of BBQ Ribs in Midtown without a long sitdown lunch? I’ve eaten in the South for lunch and it seems like these places are everywhere, but, alas, I haven’t found great ribs I love since Wylie’s closed on 50th and 1st a few years ago. Help a guy out ML readers!!

Chicken wings.  Fried chicken and waffles.  Ribs.  I wish I had been at your Superbowl party.  I’ve only had ribs at one place that could sort of qualify as Midtown… and I can’t imagine anybody elses being better.

BBQ porn, after the jump… Read more »