Lunch. It's like a hug from someone you don’t hate. Just when you’re losing steam after those first few cups of coffee, it's there to put you back on your feet. Even if it's just a takeout lunch. So if you live or work in Nomad, and you need something good and quick to get your day moving in the right direction, these are your best grab-and-go options.
Sweetgreen is popular for a reason. They make good salads, and they aren't too expensive. If you’re going at peak lunch hour, order in advance or bring a few books to read in line. This is the go-to Nomad takeout salad option, and it’s a reliably good one.
Inday is a fast-casual place where they put healthy stuff in bowls. The storefront is small and attractive (with a decent amount of seating), and it's pretty much an upscale Indian salad bar. Think of this as Sweetgreen, but with more interesting ingredients. That said, not everyone will be into chickpea ranch and fermented carrots. But if you’re trying to eat a healthier lunch and you want to avoid the DMV-sized line at Sweetgreen, go here.
This is a full-service restaurant on the corner of 26th and Broadway, but there’s a takeout counter near the entrance. At lunch, you can stop in and get a salad or a sandwich to go. For the most part, this place serves healthy Italian - but it’s hard to make a panini healthy, and you’ll at least get some cheese in your salad. The salads aren’t as large and satisfying as the ones you’ll find at Sweetgreen, but that’s the tradeoff for a much smaller line.
Poke is everywhere now, and we’re really trying to find a reason to hate it. (Save the fish?) Maui Onion is the poke option in Nomad, and it’s pretty good. It isn’t Chikarashi-good, but it’s better than some other new places we’ve tried, and you get a decent amount of food. So if you’re craving raw fish on rice, come here. There’s a lot of seating inside and the service is friendly - but if you’re getting a spicy tuna or salmon bowl, ask them to chill with the mayo. You only need a bit.
At Mulberry & Vine you can customize a plate of vegetables and proteins, and everything is more-or-less healthy. The concept is similar to a place like Dig Inn, but the menu reads like it was constructed from those recipes you tore out of Bon Appetit because you thought they’d make you a more complete person. Harissa-squash quinoa, Mediterranean braised chicken - you get the idea. Bonus points: the prices are very reasonable.
While technically delicious, lobster rolls are pricey, and we honestly have no idea how healthy lobster is. But if it’s the dead of winter and you need a pick-me-up that makes you think of summer for just a few minutes, go to Luke’s. The rolls are fresh and simple and they’re good for an occasional lunch splurge. They might not fill you up - but you probably shouldn't have a bellyful of bread, butter, and lobster.
If you aren’t familiar with Dig Inn, it’s the fast-casual equivalent of your healthy workplace cafeteria. Here, you choose two sides, a grain, and a protein, and it’s all pretty decent. Not mind-blowing, but it'll get you through the day, and you'll feel like you ate something healthy. Think salmon, tofu, kale, and sweet potatoes. Yes, this is a chain, but - just like a Starbucks bathroom - it's good to know where one is in a pinch.
Little Beet is another two-sides-and-a-protein chain, but they also serve poke. Which reminds us, try the new Rite Aid tuna poke bowl. (It should exist in a month.) In all seriousness, this is place is a good, healthy lunch option. Dig Inn tends to give you more food, but these guys get extra credit for heating your protein to order. Stop by for a quick takeout meal that won’t make you want to take a nap at your desk.
Salads are apparently the new sandwiches, so it's good to know that Num Pang does both. Sure, they're known for their Southeast-Asian inspired combos of meat and baguette, but they'll feed you some kale if that's what you want. Or they'll make you a salad with tiger shrimp and peanuts. But who are kidding? If you come to Num Pang, get a sandwich. Pulled pork, barbecue brisket - just go for it.
The original Pondicheri in Houston was popular enough for them to open a second location NYC, but this place hasn’t been as crazy as we expected. Maybe that’s because the space is weird and huge, or maybe that’s because people don’t know that this isn't your average Indian. It's a little bit healthier, and in the daytime they do sandwiches and salads. At lunch, this place is counter service, and it’s good for solid meal that's more interesting than Sweetgreen.
When you think “sub,” you picture something dense, floating to the bottom of the ocean. You also think Subway. Neither of those things sound good for lunch, so just pretend this place has a different name. The sandwiches at this spot in the ground floor of the Nomad Hotel are fun and fresh (there's one with pickled blueberries and BBQ potato chips), and gluten-free people can have their sandwich ingredients over a bowl of grains.
These guys used to operate out of a tent at Smorgasburg, but now there’s a permanent location in Nomad. They’re known for their channa masala sandwich - but if a bunch of chickpeas between two slices of bread doesn't sound like it has the most appealing mouthfeel, you can always have a grilled cheese. Or a mozzarella and apple sandwich. Bombay Sandwich Co. is completely vegetarian (and mostly vegan), and they also do bowls and salads.
This place is at the northern border of Nomad, so it’s easy to overlook. Their big thing is matcha, but aside from that, you can just think of this as another Australian coffee shop. It's small and good-looking, and they do a few healthy breakfast and lunch items. And while technically Chalait isn't actually Australian, we all know where they got the idea for avocado toast with an egg. This isn’t somewhere to go when you’re starving, but if all you need is a healthy-ish snack, it’s a good takeout option.
Verde is a new fast-casual spot that does pre-made salads. That means you’ll spend less time in line here, but you'll also only have about six different salads to choose from (four cold, two warm). The ingredients are high-quality, however, and the whole space feels like a takeout counter at a really trendy day spa. (They even have magazines for you to read.) The optional proteins can get a little pricey, but if you need a good, quick salad and you don’t mind having it “curated” for you, Verde is a pleasant experience.