I've been working in Lower Manhattan for 3 months now. There are a lot of food options. Few of them are good. Here are how I currently rank them.

  1. Potbelly. They are so good that I’m shocked everyone in Chicago doesn’t look like Bill Swerski. Vegetarian option (mushrooms and melted cheese) is top notch. Must get pickles on everything. Best part is the lines go fast and they’re not too expensive.
  2. au bon pain. Good soup selection, and almost all of them are delicious. Sandwiches are pretty decent. Great bakery items if you want to be a fatty.
  3. Village Green, Battery Park. Lemonade, craft beer (!) and probably the freshest food you can get … if they haven’t run out of it, and if the weather’s good.
  4. Cosi. Great sandwich/flatbread pizza selection, and their flatbreads are super tasty. Lines could be faster and prices could be cheaper. TBM Melt is recommended.
  5. Pret a Manger. Sandwiches are tasty. Soups are not good; a recent cup of crab and corn chowder had a visible line of oil on top, was way too hot and was almost all broth. Their orange soda is amazing, however.
  6. Hale & Hearty. Let’s be honest here: you don’t go to Hale and Hearty for the sandwiches, you go for the soups. And there are many of them and they are tasty, but more expensive. Ranks higher during the winter months.
  7. Various steam tray cafes. Vary wildly in quality and price, but buffets always are a plus, and there are usually almost no lines.
  8. Chipotle. Food is great but the lines at most locations are much too long. Sometimes they snake around the entire place.
  9. Burger King. It's Burger King.