Archive for 'Sophies'

Free Food Alert: Another Sophie’s Cuban Opening at 11am Today! (Updated)

The New Food Court Sophie’s on 3rd Ave. btw. 49+50th

This just in courtesy of Midtown Lunch’er “Margot”… the food court that houses Pampano Taqueria (and Pump Energy Kitchen) on 3rd Ave. btw. 49+50th will be welcoming a new Sophie’s Cuban into its fold today at 11am.  And as always, Grand Opening day at Sophie’s means free food (from the opening at 11am until 2pm).  For those who are uninitiated, the food court is in the basement of 805 3rd Ave., and free food day at Sophie’s is always exciting!  Check out the last one on 41st btw. 7+8th.

Sophie’s Cuban, 805 Third Ave (Lower Level) btw. 49+50th, 212-308-1024

Update: 1:30 PM  They have officially run out of food… the location will open officially tomorrow (Weds) at 10am.  As a side note, because the location is so small, they won’t do any of the cooking on site.  All the food will be brought over from another Sophie’s locations in waves throughout the day, and it will only be open from 10am to 5pm.

At Lunch Now: Free Food Craziness at Sophie’s Cuban (Updated)

You didn’t think a little rain would keep us cheapos away, did you? It’s 12:01 and the line is already stretched down the block at the newly opened Sophie’s Cuban on 40th btw. 7+8th… but it moves quickly. And they even have oxtails.The inside crowd, what I got, plus the ultimate Sophie’s surprise (for anybody who didn’t take their food to go), after the jump…

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Free Food Alert: Sophie’s Cuban on 40th Finally Opening

Disclaimer: This is not live.
Photo from Sophie’s 56th St. Grand Opening, March 2007

Just got word that the Sophie’s Cuban on 40th btw. 7+8th (that we’ve been waiting for since April of Last year!) will have its customary, pre-grand opening “Free Food Day”, tomorrow- Wednesday March 19th.  The restaurant won’t actually be ready to go until late tomorrow afternoon, but they will be bringing in tons of food from their other locations to feed the hordes.

They expect to be ready to go at 11:30am, and will serve a limited menu of free food until it all runs out (they plan on making it until late afternoon, but with Con-Ed still being a question mark, and the food coming from another location, they cannot be positive).    

Unlike the perfect weather at their last grand opening, which made for long lines, tomorrow is looking to be rainy, meaning us die hard free food/Sophie’s fans should be in good shape.  (On the other hand it’s a very short walk from the New York Times building, and we all know how well journalists are paid… so it could be a long lunch.)

What “free food day” got you last March on 56th St., after the jump… Read more »

Openings, Closings & More Closings (ahem, I mean “renovations”)

It’s the beginning of the new year, which traditionally means a lot of change in the eating landscape.  Leases run out, new places move in, and many use it as a time for “holiday cleaning”.  First the openings…

Yummy Sushi in Rockefeller Center has opened a second location in the Food Court at the bottom of the building on 3rd Ave. & 53rd St.  It joins Fusion Grills, Gourmet 53 and of course- the piano player!  I believe it replaced a different sushi place, owned by the same people who own Menchanko-Tei.

In the soon to be opening category…

Ignore the construction, the “food court” in the basement of the building on 3rd Ave. btw. 49+50th is still open- and the new sign confirms the rumor we mentioned a few weeks agoPamapano Taqueria & Pump Energy will be getting a new neighbor soon.  Clearly not deterred by the defections of two of their prime Midtown locations, a new Sophie’s Cuban will be opening soon.  The fliers on the storefront make mention of a “Grand Opening Celebration”, which can only mean one thing.  Free food day!  Once a date is firmed up, I’ll let you know.

Closings, plus closings masquerading as “renovations”, after the jump… Read more »

Tina’s Enters the Cuban Food Battle, as Sophie’s Takes Two Steps Back- 4 Steps Forward

Fans of the latin food chain Sophie’s Cuban might have noticed something strange about two of their three Midtown locations.  The branches of Sophie’s that were located on 56th btw. 5+6th and on Madison btw. 33+34th, are now called Tina’s Restaurant.  Both storefronts still have the same menu, and what appears to be the same food… only now they are called Tina’s instead of Sophie’s.

According to a Sophie’s rep:

“Sophie’s has been a family operated business for over ten years in Manhattan. There arose a difference of opinion about how to operate the business among the family members operating Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine restaurants. Sophie’s management believes that outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value to our guests are the most important elements of our business. Tina’s is no longer associated with Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine.”

Based on that quote, you would think the issue was one of standards, but according to one of the employees at Tina’s it had more to do with franchising fees, and the fact that the members of the family who own the two Tina’s locations just didn’t want to pay them.  The owner of Tina’s didn’t return my calls.

Still, Sophie’s soldiers on with their franchising.  Finally, some news on the 40th St. location- plus a new food court location, after the jump… Read more »

No Sophie’s Cuban Grand Opening Today

According to the Sophies Cuban website, today is supposed to be the grand opening of the new location on 40th btw. 7+8th.  Based on the look of the place at 8:45am this morning, I’m guessing it’s not happening…



One of the employess in another store said it will probably open next year.  A worker on the actual construction site said October.  Either way, there will be no free cuban food today.  I’m sure the steam pipe explosion, which closed the Sophie’s on Lexington did not help matters.  They are hoping to get that location back open in another week.

Need some Cuban food, and need it today?  Midtown Lunch Latin recs, after the jump… Read more »

Steam Explosion Effects Midtown Lunch’ing Around Grand Central

Got this message from the Grand Central Partnership this morning:

As of this morning, the city continues to maintain a restricted zone, comprised of the area between East 40th St and East 43rd St and between Vanderbilt Ave and Third Ave. Individuals are not permitted to enter the restricted zone. Individuals who are already in the restricted zone are permitted to stay where they are. As clean-up work progresses, the City will work to shrink the size of the restricted zone.

Additionally, the following streets remain closed to vehicular traffic at this time:

- Lexington Ave from East 34th St to East 57th St
- Third Ave from East 38th St to East 42nd St
- Park Ave from East 34th St to East 54th St
- East 42nd St from Park Ave to Third Ave
- Vanderbilt Ave from East 42nd St to East 47th St

I have confirmed that Oms/b (45th btw. Lex+3rd) opened this morning, but then decided to close. 99 Cent Fresh Pizza on 43rd btw. Lex+3rd and the Sophie’s Cuban on Lexington btw. 40+41st are both closed for the day. The other Sophie’s locations have expanded their delivery radius for the day to make up for it.  Call whichever one is closest to you.  Also, the Treats Truck will not be parking at 38th & 5th today, as previously planned.  Check for updates.

Milant (39th btw. Lex+3rd) is still open, as is the entire Grand Central Concourse Food CourtBlarney Stone (3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th), Famous Chicken Place (3rd btw. 38+39th) &  KushiQ (3rd Ave. btw. 45+46th).  If you have any added info, post it as a comment below or email it to

Sophie’s Cuban (a full review… in pictures)

You might be surprised to realize that I have never actually given Sophie’s a proper +/- on MidtownLunch.  There was a mention of the Lexington location months and months ago, the reporting about the new 56th St. location, and then the live-blogging of the Grand Opening, but never a proper page that people could refer to for locations and a real +/-.  So… here it is-  in pictures (the best way to enjoy a place like Sophie’s).



An inside shot of the Lexington location. You have two dining options at Sophie’s.  You can sit at a table and order from a waitress (on the left), or get in the cafeteria style line and order directly from the steam tables.  If you get in the line, you have to take your food to go.  This is especially confusing at the 56th St. location, where the tables are in the very back of the restaurant.  If you want to sit and eat, you must bypass the crowds at the steamtable, and head directly to the back to order from the waitresses.  The menu and prices are the same when you sit and order (but you do have to tip, making it a little more expensive.)



The back of the 56th St. location.

Two plates of food fixing to go out, at the 56th St. location.

More food porn, after the jump… Read more »