BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
It’s all about quality over quantity on this block, where the pickin’s are slim but solid. The proximity to Carnegie Hall and touristy Times Square as well as the offices of Midtown make this block both convenient and busy during peak weekday lunch hours. Multi use skyscrapers, City Spire, Carnegie Hall Tower, and Metropolitan Tower all have entrances (although not necessarily main) on this block.
Although the official address of this juice chain lies on 6th avenue, there is an entrance on 56th street. In addition to refreshing smoothies, Jamba Juice also serves the community by raising money for local schools’ healthy lunch programs and neighborhood gardens.
119 West 56th Street – Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridian
Staying at Le Parker? Just passing by? Whatever your reason is, if you’re in the neighborhood Burger Joint is a must if you’re in the area. Grilled over an open flame and topped however you like (within the boundaries of standard burger fare), these burgers are the real deal and easily make the top 5 in the City. Come early to get a seat in the graffiti-ed space, as the burgers are best done right off the flame.
119 West 56th Street – Knave at Le Parker Meridian
The grandiose space that Knave inhabits in the lobby of Le Parker Meridian is both Gothic and modern and is a restorative place to sit and enjoy a cappuccino midday. Although open for cocktails until 12am daily, the hefty price tag seems barely justifiable when the scene isn’t the most happening and the baristas are the ones making your cocktails.
119 West 56th Street – Norma’s at Le Parker Meridian
As cheap as (the above-mentioned) Burger Joint is, Norma’s is not. However, it is
arguably (and winning 9 times out of 10) the finest brunch in town. Open until 3pm every day, Norma’s is strictly brunch, but no one’s complaining with menu items like the Waz-Za waffle, a decadent waffle filled with fruit and topped with a crispy Brûlée or the Foie Gras Brioche French Toast (‘nuff said). Come for a treat, leave with a stuffed stomach and empty wallet.
120 West 56th Street – Starbucks
For your caffeine fix, grab a Starbucks at this location right across the street from Le Parker Meridian Hotel.
127 West 56th Street – Topaz Thai
The bargain prices during lunch are the biggest draw at Topaz for the hoards of New Yorkers who work in the area. Quality food and nicer than average (though small and always crowded) Thai restaurant décor make Topaz a solid choice even for a sit down dinner.
150 West 56th Street – Dean and Deluca
155 West 56th Street – Blue Dog Café
For a slightly different kind of café, stop by the Blue Dog. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices along with healthier, lighter choices make Blue Dog a first choice for many who live and work in the area and those visiting alike. Try an item from Blue Dog’s coffee or tea selection for a great alternative to Starbucks and a wallet friendlier option than Dean and Deluca.
156 West 56th Street – Carnegie Club
The Carnegie Club offers a taste of New York past, complete with an indoor smoking license making it the perfect place to light up one of your favorite stogies. The beautiful (though worn) space makes it easy to forget that your Blackberry was even invented yet. For the cigar aficionado on a budget, bring your own stick for a minimal fee that can be used towards a cigar to go. *Come on the weekend for a Sinatra performance you won’t soon forget!
162 West 56th Street – Teleon Café
One of two locations, this Teleon Café is a lunchtime and breakfast standby for those who commute to midtown for work. With a selection ranging from soups and sandwiches to a salad bar and pizza station, Teleon has something to suit every mood. Although it seems that the Teleon Café has nothing different to offer than any other deli stop in the area, regulars say that it’s too convenient not to stop in.