By Yvo Sin

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A food hall aiming to be a one-stop lunch shop for anyone and everyone – from those with special diets (gluten-free, vegetarian, kosher) to those who eat everything – is opening in the Financial District Thursday.

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Milk Street Cafe is the sophomore effort by owner Marc Epstein, who previously opened a location in Boston. He’s introducing the concept of the grand ‘food hall’ to downtown Manhattan – and offering free cookies and coffee to all who stop by between the hours of  10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on Thursday.

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To learn more about their intended customer base, they sent a survey out to the current tenants of 40 Wall Street and discovered a wide variety of dietary needs and concerns – and built three separate kitchens to address vegetarians, those who keep kosher, and everyone else.

Seating area 1

The seating area at Milk Street (credit: Carrasco)

Start with the breakfast bar on your left as you walk in, which will be serving up the first cups of Intelligentsia coffee in the Financial District. Tea and smoothies will also be available here. This will switch over to the pasta station around midday.

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And while plenty of places offer a salad station, Milk Street Cafe’s is broken into two sections – vegetarian and non, to keep everyone happy and prevent cross-contamination of meat into the vegetarian side.

There are also other stations, including a Pacific Rim/sushi specialty counter in the center, and further back, rotisserie chicken, sandwiches and a grill. And while selections will be kosher here, that doesn’t mean your meal has to be. If you want cheese on your sandwich, for example, you will receive your sandwich, prepared and wrapped in a kosher area of the kitchen, and cheese, wrapped separately in another kitchen, for you to add to your sandwich yourself in the dining area.

Milk Street’s 23,000 square foot space also boasts a rather elegant seating area, split into two. The smaller of the two, on the right as you walk in, contains many two-tops, but continue further back, past the hand washing sink and down a wheelchair accessible ramp, to the larger seating area (seen above), which features a mural done by Epstein’s sister.

Milk Street Cafe

40 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
(212) 542-3663
F: (212) 344-0700

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 6:30am – 9pm
Friday, 6:30am – 3:30pm

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Yvo Sin is the founder and head writer of The Feisty Foodie.