Archive for January 2009

Sandwich Challenge Question: From a Midtown restaurant: "So I heard that there is a sandwich competition happening on Midtown Lunch. Do you think we will get chosen if we get really creative and crazy?" Just to clarify... there is no "chosen". (And technically it isn't really a competition.) If you add a sandwich to your menu, and call it the "Midtown Lunch Special", it will get posted about on this website. Every... single... sandwich.

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.

Lazzara’s Offers 99 Cent Slice Recession Special


The newer location of Lazzara’s Pizza, located just out of bounds on 9th Ave. btw. 44+45th, has just introduced a recession special from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: If you purchase a soda, you can get a single slice of pizza for 99 cents (and a second slice for $1.50.) They’re also selling a full 6 slice pie for $8.99 (normally $11.50). Both deals are walk in only, and not available at the original location on 38th btw. 6+7th, but it may be worth the extra walk if you’re as cheap as I am.

The Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge


Alright… so the time has come.  I know it seems coincidental that this would happen so close to the Walgreens sandwich dare, but this idea was actually inspired more by the amazing entries for the Murray’s Salami Sandwich Challenge. The sandwich ideas you came up with were ten times better than most of the boring sandwich offerings in Midtown. And that’s when it dawned on me.  We CAN do better!  That’s right.  In these economically trying times, lunchers are demanding more for their money, and I think it is time for the restaurants of Midtown to step up to the plate with something inspiring.  The days of coasting on turkey and swiss is over!  So here is what I’m proposing:

A challenge… to every single restaurant in Midtown to come up with a new sandwich.  A bold sandwich. A sandwich that pushes the boundaries of what human beings were meant to ingest.  And you shall call it the “Midtown Lunch Special”.  Add this special sandwich to your menu (temporarily or permanently) and we will post about it on Midtown Lunch.  That’s it. You get free publicity, and more business… we get better sandwiches. Easy enough, right?

Ideas, how you the Midtown Lunch’er can help make this dream a reality, and all your other questions are answered after the jump…

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Washoku’s Sidewalk Bentos are Back on 49th

DSC00589The sidewalk bentos are back on 49th Street btw. 6+7th. This may have happened a long time ago, but I hadn’t seen anybody out there since the last guy got arrested. The seller is there from Noon to 12:30 p.m. every day with a selection of bentos, sushi, and rice balls from the newly opened Washoku Cafe on 37th btw. Mad+5th. I believe you can call ahead your order, or just stop by and see what extra stuff they have. They’re not as good as the Chiyoda bento boxes that used to be for sale in that same spot, but they’re good enough- especially if you don’t feel like walking all the way down to 41st or 37th.

Schnipper’s Will Open by Sat; Menu Looks Pretty Good

The New York Times is reporting that Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen, the new venture from the founders of Hale & Hearty Soup, will open this Saturday, January 31st… and according to an email the owner sent me “possibly sooner depending on how the kitchen progresses”. As reported here a few months ago, the restaurant is located on the ground floor of the New York Times Building (on 41st and 8th) and will feature fish tacos, sloppy joe’s, mac and cheese, and a half mac & cheese/half sloppy joe concoction! Also exciting is the news that everything on the menu (except the salads) is under $10. Check out the full menu, after the jump.

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Fresh Bites Becoming Simply Fresh: Sent to the ML Inbox by lunch'er Jesse: "Fresh Bites (on 6th btw. 56+57th) is turning into another generic salad/sandwich/soup place. They have a poster in the window... If I remember correctly it is "Simply Fresh". More like "Simply Boring". Also, next to the new Starbucks on 6th ave at 58th St is a brand new sign for "Well Greens Market" (looks amazingly similar to Walgreens sign). Don't know what they will be doing yet... but I imagine it's more salads." Oh joy!

Jamaican Dutchy’s Hilarious Attempt at Viral Video


A few weeks ago, the Jamaican Dutchy (on 51st and 7th) started posting videos to a new You Tube account.  As of now there are 10, and most of them are pretty huge time wasters (even more so than most of the stuff on You Tube).  For example a few are less than 15 seconds long, and just have random customers ordering stuff. There are also a few longer ones that are meant to be advertisements (I’m guessing?) But, my favorite by far is the one where O’Neill, the owner of the Dutchy, stands in front of the cart pretending to be a customer stuffing his face.  You can understand about 6 words total of what he says, a) because he’s laying on his Jamaican accent a little thicker than normal, and b) half the time his mouth is filled with rice and peas. 

Check out the hilarity after the jump…

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Andrew” (aka the Guy Who Ate the Walgreens Sandwich)

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week, it’s Andy the blogger behind Wined and Dined, and the first person to show me up by eating the Walgreens Sandwich. Judging by his comments below, I feel like I made the right decision. I figured you’d want to know more about this ML hero (or suicidal maniac, depending on how you look at it I suppose…)

Name: Andy

Age: 33

Occupation: Attorney/Food Blogger/Food Daredevil

Where in Midtown do you Work?: 55th between Park & Mad (home of the 100% Halal & Healthy Food, aka Cart with the Greek Salad, Papa Perrone’s Pizza Truck and the best hot dog stand in Midtown)

Favorite Kind of Food: Steak, shaved truffles (could have used some to mask the taste of that freakish bulkie burger), burgers, bbq, french fries of all varieties, spicy thai, smoked salmon, bacon and corned beef, fried zucchini sticks, plus I’ve been eating these low-fat donuts lately called ‘holey donuts.’

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Olives, tofu, anything at overpriced diners like Burger Heaven, pre-packaged sandwiches, anything bland, sardines, anchovies, anything with the name Beantown on it.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Pasta bar at Fresco on the Go (on 52nd btw. Mad+Park), greek salad with spicy grilled chicken from my man at the cart on 55th and Park, the $8.50 sesame chicken lunch special at Fusia (56th and Lex… not to be confused with Fusha or the other Fusia on 2nd Ave), mexican falafel from Crisp (on 3rd Ave. & 43rd), grilled chicken salad at Houston’s (or is it Hillstone?) and the off-the-menu chicken fingers there- which are insanely good, a Carnegie Deli corned beef sandwich split 3 ways with co-workers (like Serious Eats: New York did with the Carnegie pastrami), alambre and carne asada tacos from Pampano Taqueria (3rd Ave. btw. 49+50th), and the southwestern chicken wrap at Pig n’ Whistle on 3rd (btw. 55+56th).

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Chop’t which I’m thoroughly sick of, City Market Cafe on 55th, Pret, Stale and Farty Soups, Pig n’ Whistle on 3rd, Europa Cafe and my co-workers continue to eat at the Cosi on 56th despite the fruit flies and the horrendous service (I haven’t been since ’06.)

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Blarney Stone Replaces Fries With Giant Potato Wedges


Last week we passed along Peter Cherches’ recommendation of the brisket sandwich at the Blarney Stone (on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th) and commenter Larry informed us of this news: “What’s the deal with their new fries, if we can even call them fries? They’ve recently moved onto these huge wedges, which are like 1/4 potato each and in my opinion, a real step down from their previous thick cut fries.”  Larry was kind enough to send along this photo, and remarked that according to the guy who takes the orders, the customers have spoken and “love them.”  Larry’s not convinced. 

The photo may make it hard to put things in perspective, but if you know how huge the burger is at the Blarney Stone you can see these new fries are enormous.  And, to be honest- while I don’t normally like thick cut fries (I’m a shoestring man myself; Five Guys fries are about as thick as I like ‘em) these actually look kind of good. Has anybody else tried the new fries?

The Blarney Stone Burger
Revisiting My Favorite St. Patty’s Day Lunch (and the best Onion Rings in Midtown)