PROFILE: Downtown Lunch’er “Chitra”

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 Chitra who works in the WFC but makes it over to the FiDi on occasion for some vegan food or falafel.

Name: Chitra Agrawal

Occupation: Marketing at American Express and food blogger at The ABCD’s of Cooking

Where you work: World Financial Center

Age: 31

Favorite Kinds of Food: Vegetarian, preferably spicy – Indian is my favorite, Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern, Thai, Japanese and I love nachos!

Least Favorite Foods: Fast food chains, chocolate and orange together, raw broccoli, fake meat

Favorite Lunches Downtown: Little Lad’s Basket on Broadway (at Cedar) is kind of a bizarre place but I love it.  The owner is a Seventh-Day Adventist and a huge advocate of vegan eating.  It’s a dimly lit dining room at the bottom of a random office building, but it is the cheapest lunch downtown – $5.43 for whatever you can fit on a plate or in a bowl from their vegan buffet of fresh salads, soups, Asian noodles, quiche, pastas etc., and they also serve herbed popcorn there randomly.  The place attracts a cross section of people and most of them don’t seem to be vegan.  Falafel from Sam’s Falafel cart on Cedar (btw. Broadway & Trinity) with the eggplant, hummus and hot sauce is so cheap and amazing but you do have to wait in line for it.  He is there later, though, so if you go after the lunch rush, you don’t have to wait on line as long.  I order the tofu bahn mi at Mangez Avec Moi on W. Broadway (btw. Murray & Warren) and usually eat there because I really like their muraled walls and the casual feel of the restaurant, but they also have a to-go counter next door. At Pakistan Tea House on Church (btw. Duane & Reade), I like to order the naan with their cabbage curry, saag and dal or a potato curry. The naan is one of the cheapest around and is made fresh by Amjad Mizra whose been working there for over 10 years and is the sweetest guy.  I love the Sicilian slice at Columbus Bakery in the World Financial Center on Liberty (at West). It’s kind of pricey and the people who work there are mean but it is worth it and I do like to get their salad combos sometimes (avocado & tomato, falafel with veg. and feta, etc.) but their sandwiches are not so good.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: I actually bring my lunch most days because downtown on the west side there is a serious lack of options.  When I do venture out with co-workers, a lot of times we go to Whole Foods.  I find that I end up spending way too much money there and usually my attempt at eating healthy is always thwarted by their baked macaroni and cheese which loves to jump into my salad bowl.

Places downtown you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: I love Taim Mobile and found out about their mobile truck from the site. I order their falafel sandwich with pickles and s’rug sauce and I love the pickled cabbage they put in their sandwiches - so good! It is a little bit of a trek from my office but worth it on special occasions.

Dream job location, purely for lunch purposes, and why: The mission in San Francisco because I miss having burrito lunch comas!

Anything you’d like to ask the downtown Midtown Lunch readers?: Still have not been able to find any decent Mexican over here. Any suggestions?

All of the best places I can think of are kind of a hike from the WFC, like Nixtamalito and Toloache Taqueria. One place that has good burritos is Sabor de Mexico on Trinity (at Thames). 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


1 Comment

  • It takes about 15 minutes for me to get there from WFC, but that Nixtamalito cart by city hall park has great tacos and tortas.

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