PROFILE: Downtown Lunch’er “Mel”

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 Mel who is a recent transplant downtown but has wisely been using this site to make her lunches less painful. She needs your help locating a source of Latin food that may or may not exist.

 width=Name: Mel B.

Occupation: Administrative assistant

Where you work: Trump Building – Wall St.

Age: 33

Favorite Kinds of Food: Mexican, sushi, Indian, Cuban/Puerto Rican/Dominican, street meat, anything spicy, non-odorous cheese, avocado, chocolate, designer frou-frou coffees.

Least Favorite Foods: Meatballs, animal organs, $15 salads, fast food Chinese, pre-made sushi/maki rolls, olives, fresh ginger.

Favorite Lunches Downtown: Indian at Zeytuna on Nassau (btw. John & Maiden Lane), sandwiches at Lane Cafe on Maiden (btw. William & Gold); Sushi from Haru on Wall St. Ct. (btw. Pine & Pearl) -  It’s out of ML price range but sooo (yes thats 3 o’s of yumminess) yummy; Street meat from the cart on William in front of the Chase Building across from Financier (Ed. note: It’s Pasha’s Cart btw. Pine & Liberty); Hummus plate from Chickpea on John (nr. William) – I’m so waiting for Crisp to open up on Fulton & William; Tilapia burrito from Terrace Fish & Chips (Multiple locations); Vietnamese sandwich & bubble tea from Nicky’s on Nassau (at Ann); Blackened salmon from Texas Rotisserie & Grill on Fulton (btw. William & Gold); Anything from Sophie’s (Multiple Locations); Burgers from Five Guys on Fulton (at Dutch); Slices from It’s a Pizza on John (btw. Broadway & Nassau) for their unique varieties; Whole pies from Adrienne’s on Stone St. (nr. Hanover Sq.) or Harry’s Italian on Gold (at Platt); McRib from McDonald’s; Cupcakes from Crumbs (I’m 33 –  I can have cupcakes for lunch if I want); Tomato cheddar soup from Hale & Hearty (Multiple Locations).

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: The little cafe in the bottom of the Trump Building (I have no idea what it’s called but it’s super convenient!) and Subway. We also host a lot of meetings, so I get to try a lot of different leftover sandwich varieties from local catering places such as Lane Cafe, Captain’s Ketch, Pax, Zeytuna, Sale & Pepe and Cosi.

Places downtown you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Wow – Midtown Lunch is my Bible. I just started working down here in October so basically every lunch I’ve eaten since then – Toloache Taqueria on Maiden (btw. William & Gold), Frites N MeatsMobile Fried Chicken Truck Burger Burger on Pearl (nr. Coenties Alley), Adrienne’s, It’s a Pizza, multiple street meat vendors, Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck, Zigolini’s on Pearl (at Coenties Slip), Cafe Water on Pine (btw. Water & Pearl), Niko Niko on Pearl (btw. Wall & Pine), No. 1 Bahn Mi Cart on Pearl (at Hanover), Cafe 52 on Broadway (btw. Beaver & Morris), Ranch 1 Chicken on Pearl (at Hanover Sq.), Five Guys…

Dream job location, purely for lunch purposes, and why: Midtown – mid to upper 50s. I worked in Midtown for 3 years on 39th and Madison and STILL didn’t get to enjoy a lot of the places in the upper 40s and 50s such as Daisy May’s BBQ, Ess a Bagel, Burger Joint, Pop Burger, Carnegie John’s Cart, Jamaican Dutchy, Papa Perrone’s, Schnitzel & Things, Mia Dona Meatball Cart (I so wanted a gelato sandwich), Kim’s Aunt’s Kitchen Cart, Tri Tip Grill, NYC Cravings Truck (to name a few). Plus, lunch is way more expensive down here in FiDi!

Anything you’d like to ask the downtown Midtown Lunch readers?: I need a good, preferably inexpensive sushi place. I’m a sushi snob – needs to be made to order, not sitting around so that the avocado turns brown – something Haru-esque on a Dollar Menu budget! Also, great Thai peanut sauce in a lunch special – Lemongrass is maybe the best Thai around but alas, they are void of lunch bargains! Finally…a co-worker told me about a deli “down the street” that “sometimes” has Puerto Rican/Dominican food (pasteles, arroz con gandule, sancocho, mofongo, etc) but doesn’t put it on the menu – so you have to go in and ask what they have for the day, if anything. And, like so many other people I’ve spoken to in FiDi, has no idea what street it’s on or what the name of it is. Sounds kind of give-a-password-to-the-big-burly-man-at-the-doorish to me. Anyone know of such a secret Hispanic foodie society lurking amongst us downtown?

I think I’ve given up on finding good Thai food down here, let alone anything with good peanut sauce. As for sushi made to order and still kind of cheap the best place I’ve found is Shinjuku on Church St. where you can get two rolls and some salad for $7.25. And seriously, if anyone knows of this source of secret Latin food please let Mel (and me) know. 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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