Downtown Lunch: Rosario's

Making Downtown office workers jealous is something this blog has been doing for awhile now. To even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food). This week he leaves the comforts of Chinatown, for a great sandwich shop a little farther south…


From a bang-for-your-buck perspective, it’s going to be tough to beat last week’s dirk diggler sized hot dog for a dollar, which remains so far- one of the best deals I’ve seen downtown. Not surprisingly as you move farther downtown from Chinatown, you move a bit higher in price- but for one of the best sandwiches below canal, you’ve gotta bite the bullet and go to Rosario’s.  


Here’s the deal. The sandwiches are not Chinatown cheap, but it’s no more expensive then what the suckers in Midtown are paying. Most ring in at about $8, but the sandwich are H U U U U U G E. I went with the famous Italian Combo (notice the size you get for your $8.50) and literally ate half of it before realizing I should stop, and save the second half the following day. All I had to do was buy a 50 cent roll, and basically for 9 bucks I had a sandwich for two days.


If you can eat this entire sandwich in one sitting, well then you’re a fatter man than I.


When you make it downtown to this lunchspot, you’ll find Joe Rosario, who has been overstuffing sandwiches at this Wall Street location for the past 25 years. He suggests going with the Rosario’s famous Italian hero on a tuscan roll, which was a piling of proscuitto, supppresata, homemade mozzarella, provolone, cappacolo…(no wait there’s more)… salami, ham, and mortadella. The monstrosity is finished with your choice of hot or sweet peppers, and balsamic dressing. If you just turned vegan after reading those last few lines, you might want something a bit lighter (I use that term loosely at this place), like the Tuscan vegetarian on ciabatta, which starts off with olive salad, both grilled and fried eggplant, roasted red peppers, homemade mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, giardianara, before getting finished off with lettuce, tomato and the balsamic dressing. This thing could feed a small commune of hippies for a day.


The line of mostly white collars moves fast and if you don’t want a sandwich, try the pasta with fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil- or one of the other daily pastas which, no surprise, is a heaping portion and rings in at just $5.75 tax included. The atmosphere is what it is, but you’re not paying $50 for lunch so you’re not getting table service or ambience, or much lighting at all. If you decide to eat there, just bring your appetite and a newspaper.

If you’re looking for dessert, the cake is as great as you’ll find in any NYC deli. If you go with the red velvet ($3.75), prepare to be impressed. You’ll break the 10 dollar barrier if you’re by yourself, but quite frankly, you could probably split sandwich and cake with a friend and leave satisfied.

Rosario’s, 38 Pearl St. (btw. Broad & Whitehall), (212) 514-5454‎

Photos & Post by Daniel Krieger



  • Comparing the size of a hot dog to Marky Mark’s prosthetic penis in Boogie Nights is less than appetizing. I’m just saying is all.

  • Man i gotta go to this place. Nothing is better than a good sammich.

  • So refreshing to see a happy fat guy making a sarnie instead of some silly woman that looks like a the Darfur rep for weight watchers telling us carbohydrates will kill us all.

  • Used to go to Rosarios almost daily back in the 80s – it’s definitely VALUE with a capital V. Don’t know of any place in Midtown that comes close to it’s combo of quality & quantity. Sandwiches are the best move – the cooked foods were always tasty, but leaden – each tin of food came with it’s own Valdez-sized oil slick at the bottom. Eating half is the sane move for most folks – the whole thing brings you biblical amounts of indigestion.

  • i think that photo with the dude holding the sandwich in his giant mitt is my favorite photo ever posted on the site…

  • Absolutely Zach – he looks like Bluto from Popeye

  • Someone should caution that man against performing his own dental work.

  • *gasp* I GOT SCOOPED!!!!! lol lol lol… omfg… I’ve been sitting on the pictures of the sandwiches from this place for *ages*… this is the place I hinted to you about before… wahhh… lol…. I’ve posted pictures a few times on my bento blog (when I opt out of bento, I usually wind up here… oh well, I guess when I blog about it finally, I will just have to link to this post. And Daniel’s photos are *sob* many times better than my own.

    PS they have a muffeletta as well (this is aimed at you, Zach, since I know you’re from NO and/or adore NO cuisine)… I never managed to have one when I was IN NO… but it was good. MONSTROUS in size… ah well.

  • I can vouch for this guy – Joe is one amazing man – he’s a terrific cook, excellent friend and surprise – a terrifc actor! I highly recommend this place.

  • The big guy in the picture is the owner Joe. One of the reasons the place is so good is because Joe actually works his restaurant and makes sure the stuff is right on. He might be smiling here but I’ve seen him blow up when the food is not to his spec’s. He is also one of the few nice guys in this buisness. He knows you by name and goes out of his way for you. I work at Goldman Sachs and have been a customer of Rosarios for years. Not only is the food fantastic and the sandwichs killer, they cater a ton of our parties and there is never any leftover’s.

  • I can certainly vouch for this guy…besides being a terrific cook..he’s a hella of a fun guy. Need to visit Rosarios ASAP if you haven’t! Its the best…..

  • Sadly, this wonderful eatery is closing its doors as of today…I just got back and was nearly inconsolable on the trainride home…

  • Wow 25 years? It’s been that long? When they first opened for months they did $5 heros, two meats and a cheese that was piled high like a Carnegie. Hot stuff was good too, shrimp parm…… yummmm, I have fond memories of picking the stray shell out my teeth all afternon. I don’t know what was in that glop but it was good shit.

    Goats did you say it’s closing? Really?
    This isn’t some cruel joke?

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