Wings & Whimsy

Mangia in Midtown

Erika Petrelli

After living in SoHo for almost two decades, The Leadership Program has “moved on up” to a deluxe office in the sky. I am loving the light and view from the 16th floor at 535 8th Avenue. And, of course, I am loving this opportunity to find new places to eat!

In celebration of our move, Treats in Transit will devote the next three entries to Midtown Manhattan, AKA the Garment District, AKA Hell’s Kitchen, AKA Clinton (AKA MiMa if you’re a real estate developer). Fair warning: It takes a little more creativity to find satisfying meals for $10 or less in Midtown, but it’s worth the effort.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time at the Drama Bookstore on 40th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues and was delighted to stumble upon Piccolo Café, a traditional European Café located two doors down. This “imported from Italy” eatery features organic vegetables, hand made Panini, and old-fashioned coffees and pastries.

I ordered the Focaccia Special made with Bufala mozzarella, green olive pate, arugula and tomatoes. The ingredients had the springy vibrancy of freshness, and the tartness of the arugula and olive oil perfectly balanced the salt from the olives. The Focaccia was firm without being dense and had a subtle flavor that complemented the other components.

Back at the office, we shared a Nonna Cake, a sort-of lemon tart with a flaky, nutty crust. I will let the guest reviewers speak for themselves: “Love the crunchy crust. I’d eat a brick of it with tea!” – Field Supervisor Jazmine Dugall. “To die for!” CEO Suzanne Otis, “Not too sweet.” – Program Coordinator Amanda Smith.

Piccolo Café offers breakfast, Panini, pasta, and salads ranging in price from $7-$15. They offer a soup and salad combo for $7 and a soup and half-sandwich combo for $9. Coffees and Pastries run from $1.50-$4.00. Piccolo Café is located at 274 West 40th Street, just east of 8th Avenues. Take the A/C/E train to 42nd, exit at the front (from uptown) or the back (from downtown) to put yourself on 40th Street. Turn right and “Mangia”!

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