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.
Protesters: Pret A Manger, 179 Broadway
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.