I freeze, you freeze, we all freeze for banh mi...s
January 4, 2008 6:57 AM   Subscribe

When you're in NYC and it's winter, where do you take your food to eat when the place you're buying from doesn't have seating?

Yesterday I ended up sitting on a bench freezing to death for some banh mi, and figured there had to be another [read: warmer] way. Usually I run into this problem in the Chinatown/Little Italy area, but suggestions citywide are welcome.
posted by soma lkzx to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Just go to a cafe and order a tea or coffee. You can also check out NYC's privately owned public spaces, which are required to let you hang out. Some are outdoors but many are indoors with seating, and sometimes with trees and art.
posted by lorrer at 7:08 AM on January 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

Some useful ideas here.

I recommend Starbucks for this, there's one on Broadway in SoHo near Chinatown. Nobody cares what you do there. Same goes for Subway and other chain places.

Pearl River Market has a little upstairs snacking area, but I've never used it so I'm not sure how receptive they are to outside goodies.

A lot of the small deli/buffets have upstairs seating areas for people to eat in, and it's worth the price of a granola bar or whatever in order to use them. Same in a pizzeria: a buck for garlic knots just bought you a seat.

By and large, eating food fro outside the location you're in just takes a little attitude. If you walk in and take a seat as if you are waiting for someone or do this every day, and then just dig in with equal parts confidence and discretion, no one will give you any trouble because it would be more effort than it's worth. They'll only discourage you if you give them an opportunity to, or if they are miserable wretches of the service industry. If you look like you know what you're doing, you'll get a free pass.
posted by hermitosis at 7:16 AM on January 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

It looks like slim pickings around LI, but that map is just what I was looking for!
posted by soma lkzx at 7:17 AM on January 4, 2008

Mid-town, the Sony building is one of those public private spaces. Great place. A hotel lobby that has a lot of activity also works.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:37 AM on January 4, 2008

the subway
posted by caddis at 7:41 AM on January 4, 2008

You need to rethink your problem. Not only does your banh mi shop not have seating, I can guarantee you that it is not as good as Paris Sandwich, which has the best I've tasted in the city and seats.
posted by mkultra at 7:43 AM on January 4, 2008

If you were ever in the situation again, i'd suggest Dean & Deluca on Broadway (near Spring or so?). Theres a stand up/eating area just to the left of the door and you can order a tea to have after your banh mi.

But ya, Starbucks works well too. I see people who look like they've been there for HOURS (watching dvds/working/whatever) with just 1 cup of coffee or tea.

And sorry mkultra-- Paris sandwich is not better than Sau Voi!! :cD
posted by modernsquid at 7:54 AM on January 4, 2008

mkultra: What yesterday's banh mi shop lacked in seating it made up for by being in the back of a jewelry store
posted by soma lkzx at 8:35 AM on January 4, 2008

location of said banh mi?

And I would mention that the starbucks in chinatown have awful seating and to just stand there in the tiny banh mi place until they kick you out.
posted by sondrialiac at 12:24 PM on January 4, 2008

soma lkzx, don't tell me you were at banh mi so 1!

from what i recall, banh mi so 1 has chairs that you can wait in along the side. i think in western society it be a little weird to sit in those and eat, but you're in chinatown-- they don't care and no one will even as much as glance at you. next time i'd just sit right there and eat.

if you're anything like me, shoving an entire banh mi and sua dau nan should only take you less than 5 minutes :c)
posted by modernsquid at 1:52 PM on January 4, 2008

i work in Chinatown and I often freeze to death sitting in the park. however i recently discovered the Whole Foods on Chrystie and East Houston. if you go upstairs there's tons of tables and couches and places to hole up for a while. I've eaten other food there and never had any trouble. just, you know, dont broadcast that you're eating food from outside, and you should be fine.

also good is essex street market on essex and delancey. if youve never been there, its a giant indoor market with tons of little stores/booths, and several tables along the side to sit and eat. you can sit there and eat food you brought in, no problem.
posted by silverstatue at 5:02 PM on January 4, 2008

I snuck into a McDonalds before Daisy May barbecue had seating and no one said a word.
posted by brujita at 1:50 AM on January 5, 2008

a little late, but presenting: Saigon Banh Mi, the banh mi joint in the back of a jewelry store
posted by soma lkzx at 10:49 AM on January 10, 2008

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