The midtown lunch rush is back.
On a hot summer day in midtown Manhattan, where no one is supposed to be working, a fashionable crowd lined the sidewalk outside Cava’s fast-paced Mediterranean restaurant.
The Greek-inspired chain’s Broadway and 38th Street location was jokingly hailed as ‘the hardest club to get into in all of Manhattan’, in a now-ubiquitous TikTok ad posted by a Big Apple influencer . Embedded tweet.
Do you remember the epidemic? Do you remember when Midtown restaurants were in full swing? Tell that to the modern lunch attendants who wait up to 90 minutes in a booth outside the door for them Lemon chicken dishes.
“I queued for an hour and a half to get food here. It’s good and healthy,” Kathleen Meszkiewicz, 25, told The Post, sweating in the glorious sunshine.
Cava was first launched in 2010 in Rockville, Maryland. The brand is now popular in the Washington, DC area. Lately, however, newly opened branches in Manhattan have become something of Chipotle’s post-pandemic response, or their various $20 hash salad joints.
In the TikTok clip, which has garnered more than 1.1 million views, a crowd of subsistence seekers sacrifice their hour-long lunch breaks while waiting to get their hands on $13 worth of veggies, protein and a mix of cereals.
DIY Cava dishes are so popular, with options like falafels, spicy lamb meatballs and grilled vegetables, as well as a range of delicious dips, that those hoping to grab lunch at the restaurant chain fast often try to beat the pre-order rush. Via the Cava app or the website. Miszkiewicz, who was ordered to carry on with his colleagues, found these efforts thwarted.
We pre-ordered our food [online] 11:30 a.m. for 12 p.m. pickup now 12:30 a.m. and still pending. “It’s boring, but the food is worth it.”
One restaurant’s puzzling popularity argues for a restaurant back in town at lunchtime, which saw steep declines in 2020 and 2021 when most of the workforce was working (and eating). ) at home.
But Broadway Cava general manager Yasmere Mercedes said her store has seen a boom in sponsorships since becoming more commercial. They are required to return to their offices several times on a mixed schedule, at the beginning of this year.
“It’s been really great to see how the business has grown since the pandemic,” Mercedes, 21, told The Post as customers rushed to the door. “We’re actually making more money now than before the pandemic.”
Other locations, such as Cava at 42nd Street near Bryant Park and the one on Madison Avenue at 40th Street, also draw crowds of midday customers.
As nine-to-five-year-olds continue to adjust to their real-life working lives, many are using every minute of their lives on vacation afternoons to eat, drink and maybe even have a romance. .
“I wish,” Emily Seitz and Jill Folger, both 26, said when asked if they’d ever flirted with a society hottie on their nightclub-style kava line.
Best business friends, who pre-ordered their orders, waited 15 minutes as part of the pick-up crowd.
However, most of them seem content to just walk in and score goodnight no.
“The line is always too long,” Manny, 35, who works in construction and asked that his last name not be used, told the Post. In the past, she’d waited over 45 minutes for her usual bowl of habanero chicken, having only 15 minutes left for food.
In such cases, Manny said with a laugh, “I’m back in my office and eating fast food.
Similarly, software pro David Carmichael, 29, told The Post that he usually doesn’t mind letting the minutes go by while he waits for a bowl of falafel and feta.
But even that has its limits. “Every time I see the queue outside the door, I walk away,” he said.
Such was the case with 33-year-old Lauren Vass and her colleagues, who took a look at their extensive range of kava and immediately opted to eat elsewhere.
“It’s long and we have to go back [to work]Fes was groaning, working as a wholesaler for women living downtown.
Others were also deterred by the Cava crowds.
“I’m not a queuing person,” said Megan Neville, 37, who stopped by with fellow model Margaret Derby, 30.
“It’s good food,” Derby said. But the TikTok nightclub [aspect] not mine “.