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There's been a sudden profusion of afternoon delight in Manhattan, but not the kind Starland Vocal Band sang about. A growing array of eateries are squeezing in another meal, complete with new menus, to feed customers who turn up between 3 and 5 p.m. Until recently, those hours had been a gastric wasteland, during which most restaurants closed to prepare for the dinner rush. Now they’re serving something that might be construed as “linner.” Or is it “dunch”?
“It’s a way to take advantage of the real estate,” says Justin Morel, general manager of Cookshop (156 10th Ave.). “We have the kitchen, we have the dining room, we have people coming off or going up to the High Line or on an art gallery crawl. It just makes sense to be able to offer them something to eat.”
Cookshop’s afternoon menu features some 16 items, ranging from a cutting board laden with a lip-smacking array of paté to a fresh salad composed of greens and huge sliced berries. There’s also a delicious selection of pizzas featuring ingredients seemingly plucked straight from the nearby greenmarket in Union Square. Not to mention the fresh oysters.
Some are tourists; some are patrons of the arts; some are college kids with good taste; others are simply night workers who need a bite before their shift.
“It’s a combination of some of the most popular items from both our lunch and dinner menus,” says service manager Adam Cornelius, of the roughly 20 menu items, paired with a comprehensive wine and cocktail list. Entrées range from a nearly perfect Black Angus burger and soft-shell crab sandwich to roasted organic chicken breast and a sautéed jumbo lump crabcake over creamed corn and topped with crispy shallots. “We’re here because it’s not that touristy,” says Natasha Miller, 21, a Columbia student dining around 4 p.m. with her friend Simone Wilson, visiting from Asheville, NC. “Having a menu like this, at this time, is just a no-brainer,” says Tribeca executive chef Stephen Lewandowski. “People are hungry at all times of the day.”