Food & Drink

The Best Takeout and Delivery Lunch Spots in Harlem

Because lunch is the best part of the work day.

Even though Governor Andrew Cuomo’s starting to think about how New Yorkers will get back to working in their offices, it looks like we’ll be WFH for a while. But for even the most introverted among us, remote work is starting to wear thin -- how many more Zoom calls must we sit through? And why won’t that new person in the sales department ever make their bed?

To make these weeks of WFH a little easier, let’s focus on the best part of the workday: Lunch! Many of New York City’s restaurants are still open for delivery and take-out, and ordering lunch can help keep their doors open through these difficult times. If you’re able to, call the restaurant directly to place your order to help small businesses with tight margins avoid third-party fees.
  
If you’re in Harlem, we’ve rounded up our favorite WFH lunch spots in your neighborhood that you can order from the comfort of your couch.

FieldTrip

Order via Caviar, Grubhub, Seamless, Uber Eats
FieldTrip was featured in a recent episode of our series Ghost Kitchen. Their fast-casual rice bowls offer a balanced work from home lunch -- a little bit of carbs, a little bit of protein, a little bit of veggies, and (we promise we won’t tell your boss!) a little bit of beer to wash it all down. Although they’ve been open for less than a year, FieldTrip is keeping their doors open to help their neighbors stay full and focused through these long days of pants-less video meetings. 

Sylvia's

Call 212-996-0660 or order via Doordash, Postmates
Sylvia’s legendary fare has always packed the house with locals and tourists alike. And now, you can get that comfort food delivered straight to your door without a long line in sight. Order chicken and waffles, baked macaroni and cheese, and BBQ ribs with collards on the side to have your colleagues green with envy in your afternoon meeting. Throw in a peach cobbler and a Harlem Blues cocktail and you’re pretty much set to win employee of the month.

LoLo’s Seafood Shack

Order via Grubhub, Seamless, Caviar, or Uber Eats
Although nobody knows when any of us will take a vacation again, LoLo’s can at least let you pretend that you’re on a sunny beach somewhere. Order a special lunch sandwich, each of which comes served on Johnny cake, their homemade bread. The Soft Shell Crab Sandwich and Crispy “Shark” and Bake Sandwich, made with sustainable spiny dogfish, are standouts. Add on a basket of conch fritters and you might just forget that you’ve been stuck in your apartment for six weeks. 

Levain Bakery

Order via Caviar
Levain’s thick and charmingly bumpy cookies have gotten New Yorkers through breakups and bad days at the office -- they’ll get us through social distancing, too. You can order their famous Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies individually, but why not just go for a box of 16? Just stick each one in the microwave for a few seconds before you chow down for maximum gooey-ness. (And yes, of course, they’ll also deliver a cold glass of milk.)

Babbalucci 

Order via Grubhub
Treat yourself to a Dear John pizza with mozz and hot soppressata or a Nina & Yvonne pie with  sausage and truffle pâté. Split it with your housemate or -- if you live alone -- eat half now and save the rest for when you need a pick-me-up. They’re delivering full bottles of wine, too, so order up a bottle of Montepulciano to savor once the clock strikes five. If you’ve got something to celebrate, get a bottle of champagne -- even if what you’re celebrating is just making it through Tuesday. 

Harlem Public

Order online
Harlem Public has always been that easy local spot for great pub food and drinks. Starting at 2pm (but 11am on Fridays), their food options include wings, poutine, and a line of signature burgers and sandwiches that are ideal for bringing a bit of elevated casualness to any meal. Enjoy it with a Tecate or signature cocktail like the Smurfette or BK 2 Harlem. And if you’re ordering take-out for pickup, be sure to take a selfie and tag yourself in front of their awesome new signage dedicated to first responders.

Taco Mix

Call 212-289-2963 or order online or via Grubhub, Seamless, Uber Eats
Taco Mix opens at 1pm, so you’ll have to wait a little longer for lunchtime. Famed for their al pastor tacos, Taco Mix serves ‘em up on corn tortillas for $4 a pop. For an extra fifty cents, score a couple of lengua tacos, too -- they’re tender, rich, and a welcome reminder that there’s still a whole world outside your apartment. Get off your computer, poke your head out your window, and eat your tacos standing up with the sun on your face. 

The Handpulled Noodle

Order via their iOS/Android app, ChowNow, Seamless
Unapologetic about its use of robust spices and flavors of Northwestern Chinese cuisine, each dish of hand pulled noodles are “imperfect by design” with its own characteristics. Choose from  styles like ribbon noodles or the rustic cousin to conventional noodles, lagman noodles, to slurp it down in a stir fry or soup of your choice. Additional items like vegetable sides, crispy dumplings and scallion pancakes also make for great options to help ease the spice off your palate.

The Edge

Call 212-939-9688 for take-out or order delivery via Grubhub
Come for the Rum Punch -- $30 gets you 32 ounces, which is more than enough to keep you drunk until next morning’s meetings -- and stay for the Coconut Fish Burger or the BLT on Texas Toast. Although a Belgian waffle and syrup in between meetings isn’t exactly weekend brunch with your pals, you can recreate that feeling with a friend on FaceTime and a bit of an afternoon buzz. Time is totally meaningless now -- might as well enjoy it! 

Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken

Order via DoorDash
Neighborhood staple Charles’ serves up fried chicken -- fried in a pan, that is -- and heaps of Southern sides. There’s BBQ ribs, too, and turkey, and pork chops, all served with cornbread and best paired with a gigantic cup of iced tea. Even if you didn’t grow up with Southern cooking, a meal from Charles’ tastes like somebody you love cooked it for you. In our new world of weekday lunches cobbled from whatever’s left between shopping trips, it’s nice to feel that somebody cares. 

Jin Ramen

Order via Grubhub, Seamless
A big bowl of Volcano Tonkotsu Ramen with pork bone broth, chili oil, and a soft-boiled egg might just be the comfort food you need to make it through the week. Ask for it extra spicy, let your eyes begin to water, and voila! You’ve found the perfect excuse to cry through a work call. Add a few cans of Sapporo onto your order, then crack them open to reward yourself for only sobbing once before 5pm. 

Lenox Saphire

Order via Grubhub, Seamless
Senagalese spot Lenox Saphire offers lunch specials -- marinated lamb with stewed vegetables, curry chicken with rice, shrimp mac and cheese -- along with a window’s worth of French pastries. Eat your meat and veggies, then cap off your meal with a sticky apple tarte tatin or a delicate, espresso-soaked opera cake covered in chocolate ganache. Even if your baking skills have leveled up in quarantine, it feels good to put down your rolling pin and let someone else turn on their oven. 

Ponty Bistro Harlem

Order via Grubhub, Seamless
Ponty Bistro can deliver any lunch you’d like. Croque Monsieur? Sure! A spicy Merguez sandwich? You got it. A Caesar salad with Parm and anchovies? Lobster ravioli? Crepes with Nutella and ice cream? Of course! If you’re arguing with your roommates (who, by the way, you’re starting to get pretty freakin’ sick of by now) about where to order from -- or if you’re ordering for one and you’re just really, really, indecisive -- Ponty’s bound to have something that’ll satisfy.

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Rachel Pelz lives and writes in Brooklyn.