New Lunch on the Lower East Side

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 at 6:18 am by

While eating in the neighborhood isn’t the bargain it used to be, lunching still provides a way to sample new fare on a recession-friendly budget. And you can do it while avoiding chain restaurants, which we seem to be running into more often than a problematic ex. Really, what’s the deal with all the new Subways opening in the hood? (thanks, Seinfeld).

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So, in that vein, here are some recently-opened choices for lunch. It may not meet the strict definition of “locavore,” but as you could guess, we like patronizing locally-owned joints:

Bowery Diner
Serving the neighborhood since last week, Bowery Diner is currently offering up coffee, donuts and scones during the day, in preparation for opening for lunch in the near future. The dinner menu at the retro 1950s space looks to be updated, albeit pricey diner food (burgers, sandwiches, steaks, and some cleverly named cocktails including the “Down on the Bowery”: shot of house made pickle brine, shot of Michter’s Rye & can of Dale’s Pale Ale). We hear it’s like Florent on the East, so fair warning.

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Little Muenster
Expanding the trend of uber-specialized eateries (such as The Meatball Shop, Bread, Rice to Riches, MacBar, Sauce), Little Muenster apparently receives rave reviews from locals, who wax poetic about, well, lots of cheese. The quaint space (with the coolest chandelier made out of cheese graters, by the way), features such happily gooey sandwiches as gruyere, chevre and leek confit on panchetta, as well as white American singles with tomato and bacon.

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Veselka Bowery
The fancier and far younger sister of 57-year-old East Village Veselka, this new, more upscale Bowery location recently added lunch. (We still can’t quite get used to using the words “Bowery” and “upscale” in the same sentence.) Their lunch menu is not yet available online, but we hope it features some of the creative Eastern European interpretations featured on their dinner menu, such as assorted versions of Ukrainian Stuffed Eggs (wild mushroom, caramelized onion & bacon; smoked salmon & caviar; chicken liver & onion). We assume they’ll have their famous perogi, too.

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Zoe’s
A new arrival this past year on Eldridge Street, local denizen Zoe Feigenbaum has created a beautiful, atmospheric restaurant which now serves lunch. And if you can’t tear yourself away from your keyboard, Zoe’s offers lunch delivery, too. Offerings include updated standards, such as a reuben sandwich and a chicken parm (described as “better than the pizza joint”), along with unexpected dishes like papparadelle with oxtail, chicken and guanciale.

What are some of your choice neighborhood lunch spots?

Writeup and photos by Lori Greenberg

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