The Occupy Wall Street Dining Guide
No matter which side of Occupy Wall Street they're on -- protesters, cops, the media covering them, the office workers, and the gawkers -- everyone's gotta eat.
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No matter which side of Occupy Wall Street they're on -- protesters, cops, the media covering them, and the office workers, or gawker -- everyone's gotta eat. The influx of people to Lower Manhattan's around Zuccotti Park has created a new urban food chain of sorts as each group has gravitated to its own favorites. Sure, there are some business owners who complain that protesters just come in and use the bathroom and don't buy anything and Occupy Wall Street has its own food supply, providing free eats to hungry protesters. There were also some early complaints from street vendors who regularly park along Zuccotti Park's southern edge who said they're losing money because their normal lunch customers can't get to them. But foot traffic is the lifeblood of small business.
Why they like it: Lots of working groups – the committees that make sure various aspects of the protest encampment get done – have their daily meetings at Pret A Manger simply because it’s close, cheap, and has space and a bathroom. "Media always meets at Pret A Manger," said committee member Kira Moyer-Sims. They use other local cafes too, but this one is closest, so it's the most popular. How’s business? The café’s sales have increased by about $1,000 per day during the week, says manager Shamirah Dillard. The crowding and bathroom lines has been worth the boost in sales. "I would say it’s more from working people. When they come in and it’s so crowded, they buy breakfast and lunch at the same time," picking up pre-made sandwiches for the afternoon so they don’t have to fight the crowds later.
Why they like it:
Most cops working the protest come from precincts all over the city, said one so-called white shirt (an officer in command) who gave his name only as Tom. "They come from the Bronx, Brooklyn
, they don’t know the area," he said of his fellow cops, so they go to chain restaurants for the most part. "I like Dunkin Donuts, so that’s where I get my coffee." How's business?
Saboor Sahib, one of the two guys working the tiny Dunkin Donuts walk-up window a block north of the park, said sales were up about 20 percent since the occupation's start, largely from police customers. "Before, cops came in maybe two times a day. Now it’s more like 20," he said.
Why they like it:
Situated equidistant between the recently opened 9/11 Memorial and the Zuccotti Park
encampment, Ruchi gets tourist traffic from both sides, often from folks walking between the two. "We were at the protest and we came down here," said Victoria Bernal, a college professor from Irvine, California
who was in town taking her daughter, Eve Woldemikael, to visit colleges. "They have a great big vegetarian menu, which was good for us." That vegetarian friendliness has made Ruchi a hit for granola-types visiting the occupation as well as activists staying at Zuccotti park, organizer Ambrose Desmond said. How's business?
"We get maybe two or three people a day" who are obviously protesters, but the rest of the crowd seemed to be tourists, cashier Raaj Patrek said. The 9/11 Memorial opened one week before the encampment started at Zuccotti Park, and workers at the cafe said they couldn't tell which event had made more of an impact, but "business is doing better every day."
Why they like it:
The American fast food and pizza joint on the southwest corner of Zuccotti Park
has two distinct advantages for journalists: Second-floor seating and a bathroom. "A lot of us are eating where we can use the facilities," freelance cameraman Bob Briscoe said. "It’s only just about convenience," said NBC cameraman Ivan Reyes.The upstairs dining room overlooking the park means reporters can keep an eye on the action as they eat so that they don’t miss anything. "And the shot from that second floor would be amazing," Briscoe said, "but they won't let us bring the video gear up there." How's business?
The first two weeks of the encampment brought a rush of business, cashier Ricky Martinez said. "Sales were up maybe 25 percent for that time," but they've tapered off. That could be because Charly's has decided to do away with one of its key assets: its bathroom. A sign on Sunday said the facilities were out of order. "People came in and they flooded it, so we decided to close it," Martinez said. Now, business is about the same as it was before the occupation started.
Why they like it:
Early in the life of the protest, ordering pizza for the occupiers from out of town became the thing to do, and partly because of its name (which sounds a bit like "liberty" but is in fact its owner's name) and partly because of its proximity, Liberatos quickly became the pizzeria of choice for out-of-towners to call in orders for the protesters. Thanks to some early media coverage such as Gawker's day-three feature
, it's now a known thing among those following the protest from afar that Liberatos is the "official caterer of the revolution." How's business?
Liberatos knows this is its moment. Its Twitter stream
is full of specials, statements of solidarity and announcements of donated pizzas. In noting its early popularity, Adrian Chen wrote, "Organizers have been passing around Liberatos' phone number over Twitter and in Google documents and the pizzas, $2,800-worth according to one estimate, started flowing." Telly Liberatos, the owner, quickly invented a special $15 pie for the protesters, called the OccuPie, which has a ring of toppings around the edge with a line through the center, "like a no sign." But the protesters themselves are getting tired of pizza. "For some reason, people from California
call in orders of like 50 or more," Matt Shaw, one of the organizers of the occupation’s food committee, said on Sunday. (Photo via Downtown Lunch)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.