Herald Square has just been rescued from a life of miserable lunch options. The Empire Room, located at the base of the Empire State Building, is an upscale cocktail lounge destination, a cure for the post-work blues. Now, they are opening their doors early at 11:30am for lunch with an array of delicious classic American fare. And more importantly, their cocktail list and extensive wine list are available for some mid-day relief.

The Empire Room is crafted by Mark Grossich, the NYC nightlife entrepreneur and CEO of Hospitality Holdings, with a roster of prestigious venues including the World Bar in the Trump World Tower, the Carnegie Club in CitySpire Center, the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central, Madison & Vine, and Bookmarks Rooftop Lounge and Terrace at the Library Hotel.

There’s no better way to kick-off lunch than with a delicious cocktail served by the beautiful and gracious staff.

Their new bar lunch menu includes a variety of sandwiches, paninis, flatbreads, and salads. Recommended is the Yard Bird – chicken breast with sauteed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, bacon, and honey Dijon – or the Empire Reuben, corned beef with Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. For a healthy option, try the Chopped Salad, a heaping bowl of greens with feta cheese, garbanzo beans, roasted peppers, tomatoes, and onions, with your of chicken or shrimp (the shrimp is highly suggested).

Though I was eyeballing the pulled pork sandwich and the roast beef cheesesteak, I opted for the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, tender breaded chicken topped with melted mozzarella and coated with marinara sauce.

The most coveted item on the menu: the chili. This is a bowl of amazing goodness with a thick cheese layer that will not soon be forgotten. Though the entire recipe remains a trade secret, we got some insider info that there is just a touch of cinnamon and also a bit of chocolate, which should be higher than 80% dark cocoa. With the arrival of the winter chill, this chili will be ideal to cuddle with over a long lunch.

To close, we ended lunch with a delicious single serving portion of cheesecake drizzled with strawberry sauce. Not overtly sweet and heavy, it was a perfect closing to a delicious meal.


The Empire Room
in the Empire State Building
350 Fifth Avenue
Entrance on 33rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue