One of my favorite spots in NYC has to be Union Square. With all of the great shops, restaurants, and events, there’s never a problem finding something to do around the plaza. Now that summer weather is upon us, I want to spend as much time as possible outside. Getting a quick lunch to eat while sitting in Union Square is a great way to soak in the sunshine and the people-watching, especially when there are such great options for food.
1. Sweet Green
For those who are trying to get all of their daily servings of veggies, Sweet Green is a salad-lover’s dream. Choose one of the seasonal or classic favorites, or make your own combination with a wide variety of bases, dressings, and toppings. My personal favorite is the Spicy Sabzi (with added avocado, of course).
On a hot summer day, nothing sounds better than a smoothie or ace bowl, especially when it’s as delicious as those found at Liquiteria. Try the Coffee&Cacao for the perfect midday pick-me-up.
3. Brother Jimmy’s BBQ
If you’re from the South like I am, nothing says summer like old-fashioned barbecue food. Brother Jimmy’s, just a block away from the heart of Union Square, has become a New York favorite, and for good reason. Order a Carolina pulled pork sandwich and a side of coleslaw to-go on a nice summer day (just make sure to get a few napkins).
4. Roast Kitchen
Roast Kitchen is New York’s fast-casual answer to the farm-to-table movement. For the perfect, quick lunch, try the menu’s “Build Your Own Bowl” option: just pick your greens, grains, sauce, and protein (though it may be hard to decide between all of the locally sourced and organic ingredients).
5. The Pavilion
Though technically not grab-and-go, this restaurant deserves mention for its location right in the middle of Union Square, a great spot for enjoying the greenery of the park. The grilled salmon and lentils, avocado toast, and crispy fish taco on the menu, among other delicious options, makes waiting for your food all the more worth it.
6. Little Italy Pizza
Would it really be an article about New York without something about pizza? I think not. That’s why Little Italy Pizza, with its huge, NYC-style slices, is a must for anyone trying to take the city in. The pesto pizza is a favorite of both tourists and locals alike.
7. Dig Inn
The restaurants near Union Square are often at the forefront of food trends, and Dig Inn is no exception with regards to eating seasonably and sustainably. The menu, ranging from five spice meatballs to Tuscan kale with beets, has options for anyone trying to eat consciously.
8. Rainbow Falafel
While the small, crowded store front may not seem like much, Rainbow Falafel has some of the best Middle-Eastern fare in the city. Try the vegetarian platter, though it’s so packed with falafel, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves, you may need to find someone to share it with (or not).
9. Dos Toros Taqueria
Think of Dos Toros as another Chipotle—with an upgrade. The carnitas or carne asada is a perfect base for a burrito bowl or quesadilla, and the guacamole is certainly worth the extra dollar.
10. Num Pang Sandwich Shop
This restaurant has made its mark on Union Square for its num pang sandwiches, similar to the Vietnamese classic banh mi. But the menu also boasts salads, rice bowls, and noodle dishes. My personal favorite is the coconut tiger shrimp salad, perfect for a summer day.