Quick trip next week-staying Midtown

Hi there, born & raised in Brooklyn, I left many years ago but came back often to visit family. I always stayed where I grew up but that’s not an option anymore so I’m staying near Times Square, mainly to be near the subway and Grand Central Station. I need one dinner, one/maybe 2 breakfasts and one lunch, all in that order.

I get in on Tuesday and if I’m not too exhausted when I arrive, I may go down to Katz’s for a pastrami fix. I really can’t get anything that good where I live. If I don’t go there, then I need something close to the hotel, but definitely don’t want anything touristy. I could definitely do a few slices-and easily do a belly-up-to-the-counter place if it’s really good. I miss NY pizza so much! Otherwise, any suggestions on where a solo diner could go in that area? My palate doesn’t enjoy spicy food so that leaves out a lot of cuisines. I’m on a tight budget for this trip but I could be persuaded to do more than Katz’s or pizza for dinner.

Breakfast needs to be near the hotel and more than just coffee and pastries. Wednesday I head up to Westchester to hang with an old friend so I think dinner will be up there. Thursday lunch could be near Times Square or anywhere else but not too far as I have to hop on a train to go up to CT for the rest of the week for a family wedding. Then it’s back to JFK and home…

I appreciate any and all suggestions. I haven’t been “home” in over 4 years and tho this trip is short, I don’t want to waste my money and time on crappy food.



If you don’t have time to trek down to Katz’s, Sarge’s Deli on 3rd Ave is an option. They have good pastrami, but I get the blintzes. Good chopped liver, too.

Breakfast near Times Square tends to be touristy.

The Red Flame is a typical coffee shop- 44th W and 6th Ave- for a breakfast near Times Square and not far from Grand Central. Expensive for what it is, but a place you can get an omelette, etc.

I prefer the Viand at Madison and 61st if I’m remembering right, for a greasy spoon breakfast. It used to be cash only but things might have changed.

If you’re really watching your budget, an egg on a roll from a corner vendor might be your best bet. They’re around midtown in the morning.

I find there are more interesting breakfasts if you head south of 42nd Street. I like the breakfast sandwiches at Sullivan St Bakery on 8th Ave- which has tables and counter service- but that’s pretty far from where you’ll be staying. I don’t know if the Hells Kitchen location has breakfast sandwiches.

For good pizza by the slice, I’d also head south of 42nd. I have a memory of trying to find a slice near Times Square in the pouring rain, getting soaked and eventually going to Virgil’s for mediocre BBQ because I couldn’t find non-chain pizza by the slice.

Re: pizza

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Margon for Cuban sandwich breakfast (opens @ 7)
Los Taco No 1
Juniors for Cheesecake
Ootoya has good Bento boxes to go
Jolibee - Filipino fried chicken
Joe’s Pizza
Ippudo for ramen
Torishin (1*) - bento box to go


Thanks for the suggestions. Red Flame looks good for a basic breakfast, Sarge’s even better. Sarge’s definitely for lunch on Thursday. Thanks for the egg roll suggestion, but the budget is above that, lower than leisurely fine dining.

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Thanks for the suggestions. Did Juniors in both the Time Square and original Brooklyn locations a few years ago. My (adult) son and I really preferred the Brooklyn location, no tourists but also pretty empty. It was interesting to see how the neighborhood has changed. Memories of my youth shopping there with all the old department stores, now long gone. Maybe a stop for cheesecake Tuesday night…it’s definitely the best anywhere.

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Cheesecake tangent:
I was excited to see Two Little Red Hens will be reopening in 2023. That is another cheesecake to keep on your list for a future visit, and my favourite cheesecake in NYC. https://www.twolittleredhens.com/visit-us

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We’re big fans of Sarge’s since it’s close to our apartment (and not far from Grand Central). If you order the pastrami — and you definitely should! — be sure to specify “very fatty.” Sarge’s pastrami is a different style than Katz’s but just as juicy and delicious as long as you order it as I said.

If you like Greek food, Kellari, is on W. 44th St., conveniently located from Times Square and close to Grand Central. The food is excellent and, in addition to the extensive a la carte menu, they offer well-priced lunch and dinner prix-fixes.


If you decide to travel a little further for breakfast, Johny’s Luncheonette might be of interest. I wanted to try it on my last visit. 124 W 25th between 6th and 7th.

If you can’t get to Katz’s, you can also try Ben’s in the Garment District. Just a short walk from Times Square. While I do prefer Katz’s, Ben’s is a good second choice. Used to have lunch there often when I worked on 7th Ave.

209 W 38th St

Have a great time in NY!


@reallyhungrygal Welcome home! Where are you coming from?

A lot of ideas posted already on the recent threads including a couple that were linked above. Are there cuisines you don’t get or want a NY version of while you’re here?

I’d posit that Chinese, Korean, Indian have plenty of non-spicy food and would be part of my own coming-home food tour. When my family returns for visits, pizza, bagels, and Chinese are all on their NYC list. You can get a lot of NY standards in Westchester and CT, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find international options that come close.

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I moved from NY in 1977 to LA, was there for 7 years and been in the Bay Area since (I’m moving back down south in April, just a little bit north of LA proper). There are many Asian options near me so I don’t crave that. Living close to Silicon Valley has its benefits.

True NY deli style anything is practically non-existent where I live and tho I can usually get a pastrami fix in LA, it’s always on my list when I’m in NY. I actually never heard of Katz’s til many years after I left and it’s been my go-to place for the last few years. Pizza–same issue. There aren’t that many places I go for pizza and none of them are buy-a-slice or two kind of place.

So definitely pastrami (Sarge’s?) and Joe’s Pizza (I think). Kellari looks really good for dinner, could be my splurge meal.

I also thought the Oyster Bar in Grand Central could be an option for Thursday lunch–any thoughts on that? Oysters and a bucket of steamed clams are my celebrate/I had a hard day at work and need to chill/just crave them meal at home; thankfully there’s a good place near me, soon to be torn down and the whole site redeveloped. Everyone on NextDoor is up in arms about this and ready to protest.

I think Sarge’s (again?) for breakfast on Thursday would be perfect. I may have to skip breakfast on Wednesday to make an early train going up the Hudson and buy a bagel for the ride.



You can get a very good slice at Upside, which has a location just south of Port Authority. Better than Joe’s, according to me.

ETA The Oyster bar is great.


If you need to grab a bagel at GCT, go to Zaro’s. They have a couple of locations within the terminal. The coffee is pretty good there too. Used to grab them on the way to work, back when I had to go to the office.

Is there still a Zabar’s outpost at Grand Central?

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I just looked at the GCT website (again, looked a few days ago) and I don’t see Zabar’s. I also see that the map for the Dining Concourse has nothing specific listed, just “coming soon” for every location, while elsewhere in the website it does list a few places, including Zaros, and their website doesn’t have a menu listed. Thanks.

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The Zabar’s outposts are inside the Market Concourse that @Sgee linked to.

I’ve bought babka and rugelach there, and they also have bagels.

I love Murray’s Cheese, which also has an outpost in the Market Concourse. It’s at street level on the Lexington Side of the Station.

For coffee inside Grand Central, I tend to go to Joe the Art of Coffee.

What is the closest intersection to your hotel, to give an idea of what is beyond Times Square yet fairly convenient?

@reallyhungrygal there is Eli Zabar’s. He’s part of the Zabar family but a separate business. Not really grab and go kind of stuff.

We think Grand Central Oyster is unique, owing to setting and simple, fresh offerings.

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