For those of you that don’t obsessively scan the NYC food blogs, YUUUGE news on the weekday lunch beat: MealPass is coming and it could very possibly change your life. If you work between 10th St and 34th St, between 3rd Ave and 8th Ave, LISTEN UP. You work in the MealPass zone. (Those outside the zone are welcome to keep listening.)
MealPass is a lunch subscription service brought to you by the creators of ClassPass. You pay $99/month and get access to one lunch per day at over 120 restaurants in the Midtown/Flatiron area. Each restaurant offers one option each day, and the following day’s menu is posted at 7:00PM the night before. As long as you order by 9:30AM that day, you can waltz into the restaurant, skip the line, pick up your item from the cashier, and sashay out like queen of the world. If the service works the way MealPass claims it should, some potential pros and cons:
Price. The most exciting part of MealPass? The cost. For $99/month, with five weekday meals included, that breaks down to about $5 per meal if you use it every day. This is significantly cheaper than newly launched lunchtime players Maple ($12), Fastbite by Caviar ($15-$17), and UberEats ($16-$20). Put all that extra money in your Roth IRA like the millennial your parents wish you were.
Speed. Have you ever waited in a sweetgreen line a few weeks before peak #croptopseason? Brutal. Your meal will be ready at a designated time and you can get back to work faster.
Options. MealPass currently has 120 restaurants in its roster, and that’s just for the initial launch. Stand out selections include Blue Smoke, Choza Taqueria, Joe’s Pizza, and ilili Box.
Options. Wait, wasn’t this just a pro? Having 120 options each day can lead to choice paralysis, or what I call “The Cheesecake Factory Effect”. Maybe you want the Tex Mex Eggrolls, but shittttt what about the Louisiana Chicken Pasta, but damn the Factory Nachos look good oh FUCK IT just bring me ten loaves of the brown bread.
Timing. You have to decide what you want for lunch either after 7:00PM the night before, or before 9:30AM that day. Good luck remembering to make your choices during the times you’re least likely to be by a computer.
Portions. MealPass launched in Boston and Miami in January. If you can get past the impassioned bickering about the size of a normal cheeseburger, this Boston Chowhound thread shows some early complaints about portion sizes being significantly smaller than advertised.
Delivery. Per the laws of physics, my body at rest in my desk chair tends to stay at rest. I’d actually have to get off my lazy ass and go outside with the masses to pick up the food.
Who knows! The service launches today and my office is in Soho, so I’m not a great candidate. I’m doomed to $13 turkey sandwiches from Dean and Deluca and $8 pureed raspberries from Joe and the Juice, but if you’re in MealPass’ sweet spot, sign up here: https://mealpass.com/
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