PROFILE: Downtown Lunch’er “Clare”

As is customary here on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we’ll profile a different lunch’er and get their recommendations for places to eat in Downtown NYC. This week, we have Clare who asks for extra hot sauce and eats at Pret way too often.


Name: Clare

Occupation: Non-profit management

Where you work: On Wall Street at Broad – right in the heart of the Financial District

Age: 33

Favorite Kind of Food: In no particular order: Mexican; Italian; BBQ; pretty much anything involving pork; hot dogs; condiments. I’m a big sandwich eater, particularly at lunchtime.

Least Favorite Food: I’m not a big fan of offal and I don’t eat burgers.

Favorite Lunches Downtown: Falafel sandwich with extra hot sauce from Alfanoose on Maiden Lane (btw. Broadway & Nassau); chicken enchiladas from Tajin on Greenwich (btw. Edgar & Rector); the Financier sandwich (chicken, artichokes, tomato, goat cheese) at Financier (Multiple Locations); the Milanesa de pollo with rice and maduros (and extra green sauce) from Sophie’s Cuban on New Street (btw. Beaver & Exchange Pl.); spicy chicken, spicy tofu, corn, or mushroom empanadas (and extra hot sauce) from Ruben’s Empanadas (Multiple Locations).

When I’m feeling particularly indulgent (or hungover) on a Friday, I get the messy and delicious pulled pork sandwich with cajun fries (Friday special) at Burger Burger on Pearl Street (nr. Coenties Alley). This is actually a doubly indulgent lunch: It is 1) mounds of pork, topped with cheese, with a side of fries (extra ketchup); but also it is 2) the only lunch I eat with any regularity that exceeds the $10 rule of thumb.

On nice days, I like to go to Samantha’s over on South End Ave. (btw. Albany & Rector Pl.) and get the #26 (roasted eggplant, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, EVOO on focaccia) and eat in Rector Park.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Pret – it’s way too easy. You’re in and out in 3 minutes, the sandwiches (particularly the chicken mozzarella) are decent, and (most significantly) there are two within 2 blocks of my office. Pretty much every Tuesday, I go to The Grotto on New Street (btw. Beaver & Exchange Pl.) for their Tuesday lunch special: 2 plain slices and a soda for $4.75.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: A bunch of places I never get to try because I don’t go north of Chambers Street.

Dream job location, purely for lunch purposes, and why: Northeast Chinatown. I had a friend who used to work over there and she had so many amazing lunch options. Obviously, there’s all that Chinatown has to offer: cheap dumplings, noodle shops, pork buns (mmmm), Vietnamese bun; but it’s also close to the Lower East Side, so there’s Tiny’s and everything in Essex Market, and, you know, a million other things right there.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers: Now that it’s warm enough to eat outside regularly, what are the best street carts downtown?

I would say the best collection of standard street meat carts is at Liberty Plaza, and I’m also a fan of the chicken over rice from the XPL on the corner of Maiden Lane & William St. Where does everyone else think Clare should go for some outdoor dining action?  And as always, if you would like to be next week’s Profiled Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email us at


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