Some historians claim that the soup and sandwich duo that launched America’s love affair with these iconic lunch menu items was the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup combo. Post-World War II, school cafeterias served the classic, economical sandwich with soup to ensure that children were getting adequate levels of vitamin C, found in tomatoes. Though it was a bit of a drab beginning, the combination sparked decades of innovation that has led to more creative—and delicious—opportunities for stacking, stirring and dipping. Today, it’s a widely accepted fact: Nothing tastes better with a sandwich than a piping hot bowl of soup to dip it in, and when it comes to these lunchtime combinations, New York City has the pairing down.
Lucky Strike is located in Soho. (Photo by Edward Youkilis)
Whether you’re seeking something beyond the basic bread, cheese and tomato ingredient combination—which you can’t go wrong with, as evidenced by countless eateries throughout the city—or crave the comfort of familiar flavors, the city is teeming with lunch locales that will satisfy every craving, from egg-based sandwiches to vegetarian pairings and classic soup renditions. Grab a bite at one of these establishments for the perfect cold-weather pairing that will help you mix up your lunch routine and ward off the chill this season.
1. Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop boasts a litany of customizable sandwich offerings and seven different types of soups, which means it’s the perfect one-stop shop for all of your lunchtime cravings. Pair the restaurant’s Open Face Tuna Melt with the Manhattan clam chowder (available on Fridays only), or opt for a peanut butter and bacon sandwich with matzo ball soup for a classic comfort food meal. And though the restaurant’s motto is “Raising New York’s cholesterol since 1929,” it is possible to get a healthier soup and sandwich option at Eisenberg’s: Try the vegetarian vegetable soup, available every day except Monday and Wednesday, with a grilled chicken sandwich. (174 5th Ave.; 212-675-5096)
2. New York City’s ubiquitous Hale and Hearty Soups, with more than 30 locations across New York City, offers countless variations of the classic that are anything but basic. Each iteration of the eatery offers a unique set of menu items that are seasonally inspired, with specials that change daily. And with so many different made-from-scratch soups and sandwiches, it’d be possible to try a different combination every day of the year; thankfully, Hale and Hearty Soups offers a daily lunch combo special that gets you half of a freshly made sandwich and a bowl of soup so you can work your way through the menu. No matter what you order, expect robust flavors and tantalizing recipes inspired by cuisine from around the world. (462 7th Ave.; 212-971-0605)
Hale and Hearty Soups has 30 locations across the city. (Courtesy of Hale and Hearty Soups)
3. During lunchtime Monday through Friday, from noon until 5 p.m., and during weekend brunch, patrons of Soho’s cozy Lucky Strike eatery can indulge in the avocado and toast open-faced sandwich, which comes topped with two sunny-side up eggs, tomato, shallots and crema de aguacate over sourdough toast. Of course, the sandwiches are even better paired with the flavorful French onion soup, a popular item at the eatery that’s perfect for dipping and counts as one of the best French onion soups in the city. Lucky Strike also offers a soup of the day, and additional sandwich items like the grilled tuna sandwich and New York strip steak sandwich. (59 Grand; 212-941-0772)
4. At popular New York City eatery Sarabeth’s Park Avenue South location—the restaurant also has locations in the Upper East Side, Central Park South, Tribeca and the Upper West Side—gourmet breakfast sandwiches are served until 3:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Try the kale and eggs, served with baby kale, market vegetables and smoked marcona almonds, on an English muffin, or sandwich the salmon eggs Benedict between two halves of a flaky croissant. Either egg-based sandwich option is instantly enhanced by the restaurant’s tantalizing Velvety Cream of Tomato Soup, which elevates the comfort food staple. (381 Park Ave.; 212-335-0093)
More Soup and Sandwich Eateries
5. “Via Quadronno [makes] the best vegetable soup in the Upper East Side … and also a great stracciatella alla romana [soup with] parsley sparked egg-drop and chicken broth, [which pairs well] with the Via Quadronno panini (genoa salami with brie and fresh celery sauce) or the primavera panini (goat cheese, tomatoes, chopped romaine with black olive pate).” (25 E. 73rd St.; 212-650-9880)
6. “Bouchon Bakery … [is a] Thomas Keller casual lunch spot [that] offers fresh soups and salads in the beautiful Time Warner Center. … My favorite dish is the San Marzano Tomato Soup,” Torruellas says, noting that it pairs well with the restaurant’s Croque Madame sandwich. The French favorite is made with toasted ham and cheese on brioche with a fried egg and sauce Mornay. (10 Columbus Circle; 212-823-9366)
7. “BEC, located in Chelsea, is a small cafe—the name stands for ‘bacon, egg and cheese.’ You can’t go wrong with their delicious sandwiches. [It’s a] modern space for a casual breakfast—even late in the afternoon. There is not a lot of space to sit but the cozy space is really nice to go for the [BEC] classic: applewood smoked bacon, New York sharp cheddar cheese and two eggs on cheddar- and bacon-crusted brioche,” which Torruellas says is perfect when enjoyed alongside the eatery’s signature Alpha-BEC (chicken noodle with seasonal vegetables) soup. (148 8th Ave.; 212-633-8020)
– Elizabeth Nutt