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New Westminster Venue Means New Lunch Options

Thousands upon thousands of exhibitors, spectators, assistants, journalists and dog lovers of every kind– virtually all in need of lunch at some point – will swarm the Westminster Kennel Club dog show’s 12 breed rings at Piers 92 and 94 on New York City’s West Side Highway on February 11 and 12, 2013.

Several dining areas will be set up in each pier, with a catered meal selection that will “blow you away,” according to WKC Show Chairman Tom Bradley. But if you want to escape the venue for a bit, none of your usual lunchtime eateries will be an option – unless you’re willing to take a very long lunch break, along with a significant subway, cab or bus ride.So, to help you keep your energy up, we took a look at the restaurants in the neighborhood, and here share a few suggestions.

Most restaurants are at least several blocks away and some up to 10, so the staff recommends takinga cab. But if you’re up for a walk to break up the day’s standing and sitting, you can hoof it.Just remember that 53rd and 56th streets do not go through to the West Side Highway (12th avenue); you’ll need to access from 54th or 55th via 11th avenue. A map at the end of this article shows the location of each restaurant.

We’ve included telephone numbers and website addresses (when available) in case you want to get any specifics before heading out. Hours are for Mondays and Tuesdays only.

Vynl serves up Thai-American food in a rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere. Photo courtesy Vynl.

Rock Back in Time:If you want a bit of an experience during your lunch break, how about a little trip to the past? Vnyl, at 754 9th Ave. and 51st, takes classic rock as its theme, though the food is Thai-American. You can start off with Thai deviled eggs or smoked tofu and shrimp dumplings, followed by an arugula salad and truffle mac andcheese, or fried chicken and waffles with maple Tabasco syrup. For a lighter lunch, try some soup –rustic tomato, Thai chicken noodle or the soup of the day – or a small plate of sautéed calamari or seasonal tofu. With a full bar, you can also indulge in a midday drink too.Or hang in Hell’s Kitchen for dinner before heading to the Garden. Info: Six blocks; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 212-974-2003; www.vynl-nyc.com

Home Cookin’If you missed breakfast, you can have it anytime you want at Georgio’s Country Grill at 801 Ninth Ave. at 53rd. Make your own omelet for $9.95, or go with some healthy hot cereal. Breakfast burritos, wraps and even a lox platter offer lots of options. For lunch, go with a traditional pastrami Reuben, tried and true bacon, lettuce and tomato, or something a bit more exotic – The Sourdough, with grilled eggplant, sun-dried tomato, goat cheese, fresh basil, romaine and vinaigrette ($9.75). Burgers, wraps and a long list of entrée salads round out the lunch menu. Info: Four blocks; 7 a.m. to midnight;212-977-1150; www.georgioscountrygrill.com

For Italian cuisine with house-made pasta, try ViceVersa on 51st. Photo courtesy of ViceVersa.

Elegant Italian: Maybe a pizza slice place isn’t going to do it for you after a busy weekend of specialties and evening events. ViceVersa, at 325 W. 51st St. between 8th and 9th, featuring a $24, prix fixe lunch, might fit the bill. For your first course, choose from sautéed calamari with artichokes and fresh radicchio; semolina withquadrello di bufala and black truffle; a hearts of palm salad topped with avocado, red onion, plum tomatoes, and basil and lemon dressing; eggplant cannoli stuffed with ricotta and mixed vegetables; or several other items.Some of the choices for the entrée are strozzapreti (elongated cavatelli pasta) in duck ragout and black Gaeta olives; seafood ravioli complemented by roasted cherry tomatoes and oregano;casoncelli – pasta stuffed with veal, raisin, amaretto cookies, sage and butter; swordfish topped with watercress, sundried tomatoes, red onion, salmoriglio and focaccia crumbs; and salmon in sesame, horseradish, sour cream and spinach. Info: Seven blocks; noon to 2:30, 5 to 11 p.m.; 212- 399-9291; www.viceversarestaurant.com

All About Kebabs Just in case you weren’t aware, Ariana Afghan Kebab House spells it out that it’s “Ke-BAB,” not “Ke-BOB,” and as the name implies, meat on a stick is why people eat here. After being seated at 787 Ninth Ave. near 52nd, you may want to start with some fried pumpkin or eggplant, or even a samusa, a dumpling filled with beef, onion, garlic and spices. For your kebabs, choose from chicken, lamb or beef with basmati rice and salad for $14, or go for spicy fish, shrimp or salmon for $15 to $17. Got a sweet tooth? Try the pudding with almonds and pistachios or beghalawa, essentially hot baklava, with some Afghan coffee. Info: Five blocks; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; 212-262-2323; www.ariananyc.com

South of the Border:Feeling like a little Mexican food? El Centro has it covered at 824 9th Ave. at 54th. We see from the New York Times that the pozole – stew – is particularly good, as are all of thechilaquiles – kind of like Mexican casseroles. Select from hominy, chicken, grilled shrimp or pork pozole ($10 to $14) as a cold day lunch, or for a heartier appetite, the grilled chicken, shrimp, steak or fish chilaquile ($12 to $15). Maybe add a margarita for a more festive touch. Also on the menu are more Americanized dishes, such as burritos, fajitas and enchiladas. Plenty of vegetarian choices here too.Info: Three blocks, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; 646-763-6585; www.elcentro-nyc.com

It’s always a good time for sushi. Bamboo 52 is beautiful inside and out with great lunch specials that include saki and dessert. Photo courtesy Bamboo 52.

Sushi, Sushi, Sushi:Ever popular, leave it to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood to have more than one sushi place. It’s light and quick at Bamboo 52 Sushi Bar & Lounge, at 344 W. 52nd St. and 8th, and it’s happy hour until 9 p.m. Lunch specials include two rolls, classic or custom, for $9.95 with miso soup or an organic green salad, a glass of sake and dessert. Classic rolls range from cucumber avocado to tuna mango to yellowtail. Create your own rolls with three ingredients, such as white tuna jalapeño, seaweed and cream cheese or spicy salmon, cucumber and tempura flakes. Beyond the specials, signature rolls combine such things as Chilean sea bass, crunchy tempura, avocado and garlic sauce, or spicy lobster, yellowtail, jalapeno, seared scallop, tobiko (fish roe) and honey-wasabi sauce. Info: Six blocks; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; 212-315-2777; www.bamboo52nyc.com

A Quick Bite: For a fast, simple lunch, try Casabianca Pizzeria at 503 W. 57th at 10th. You can grab a slice and a drink, or something a little more filling if you’re really hungry. The extensive Italian menu includes lasagna, manicotti, eggplant parmagiana, entrée salads, stromboli and heros. Though not a “sit-down” restaurant in the traditional sense, some seating is available. Info: Five blocks; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 212-397-8725

Give Me a Burger: Sometimes you just want a hamburger, right? 123 Burger Shot Beer, at 738 10th Ave. near 51st, is a sports bar where you can grab a burger and a beer, or even a shot if that’s the kind of day you’re having. At 123, though, you have to grab three burgers at a time (for $3) – they’re small. When you see the menu, you may decide to try something different: a fried mac and cheese wedge or Yucca fries. 123 also serves hot dogs, in case you’re missing the Garden’s ubiquitous snack.Info: Five blocks; 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.; 212-315-0123; www.123burgershotbeer.com

Kennedy’s Bar & Restaurant is just what you’d expect from an Irish pub. Photo courtesy Kennedy’s.

It’s Pub Time: The day is done. Time to hit the pub. Kennedy’s Bar & Restaurant, at 327 W. 57th St. near 8th, is just what you need. Big burgers – one will be plenty here – and Irish favorites like bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and lamb stew make for a satisfying lunch or dinner in the bar, or go for the full restaurant menu in the JFK Grill Room. Info: Seven blocks; 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.; 212-399-3900; www.kennedysny.com


As you know, New York has no shortage of restaurants. To explore what else is available near the piers, whether for lunch or an early dinner before Groups, visit New York magazine’s restaurant search, then click on “Neighborhood,” “Manhattan,” then “Hell’s Kitchen.” If you don’t mind traveling a bit farther, look at “Midtown West.”

Happy dining!

Written by

Susan Chaney has been on the editorial side of publishing since 1990, starting her career as a newspaper features writer and editor. A lifelong lover of dogs, Susan has lived with German Shepherds, Labs, Yorkies, an Irish Setter, a Great Dane-Bloodhound mix, a Sheltie and currently a Chihuahua mix of unknown pedigree. She was the editor of Dog Fancy magazine, content editor of DogChannel.com and group editor of Dog World, Dogs USA, Puppies USA, Natural Dog, Cat Fancy, Cats USA and Kittens USA from March 2005 to December 2009 when she left her position to work at home, part-time. Susan lives in Long Beach, Calif., with her artist husband, Tim, that Chi mix and two big cats. As an editor and writer for Best In Show Daily, she is reveling in the amalgam of three loves: writing, editing and dogs.
  • Susan Chaney
    Susan Chaney February 6, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Michael L. Canalizo, director of AKC Event Management, contacted us to say that “a personal favorite restaurant of mine that I take many dog friends to is ’44 and X’ at 44th and 10th. Good food good (and attractive) service in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen.” This is a little outside of the area we searched, but we’re sure it’s a recommendation to be believed! Thanks, Michael!

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