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The Sad Lunch Habit That Actually Brings Me Joy

From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week

behind Sweetgreen’s explosive growth Sweetgreen/Official

This post originally appeared on April 13, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

I happen to work in a neighborhood (the Financial District in Manhattan) where many other people work. My company is made up of hundreds of people, and we only occupy two of the 30 floors in our building; my building is only one of many, many commercial skyscrapers in this little neighborhood. Thus, you can imagine what lunchtime looks like. the Dig Inn, the Sweetgreen, the Chipotle, the poke purveyor, the Indian buffet, the newfangled bone broth shop — they all teem with lines of office drones staring at their phones as they wait for their turn at the trough to create a mix-and-match lunch of vegetable, protein, and starch.

It seems on the surface (or in every way, I guess?) terrible. Terrible! Look at these people! Waiting in line to pay over $10 for the same thing they had two days ago that will just give them sustenance as they eat it in front of their laptops, getting harissa sauce droplets on the keyboard.

But I’ve found my zen in the lunch line.

I am in the thick of it with two small kids. I have a somewhat intense job. Downtime, when I can turn my brain off and not plot out the next thing that needs to be done, is mostly absent from my life right now. And that is where the 50-person line of office laborers in their conservative button-downs and pencil skirts waiting for their locally sourced slop comes to my rescue. I go down the elevator, walk across the street to Dig Inn, get in the back of a line, and stare at photos on Instagram (or just into space) for a good, solid eight to 12 minutes. It’s my time!

Is it sad that the 10 minutes of waiting in line for a bowl of grains is my relief for the day? Maybe. But my point here is that if this is also you, don’t feel bad. Whatever gets you through the day.

Opening of the Week: SX Sky Bar

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

SX Sky Bar, a restaurant and club inside a “luxury lifestyle hotel” owned by a real estate investment firm, just opened in the South Loop of Chicago, and it’s a lot! It’s not a place I would go to, nor is it meant for me, but I highly enjoyed this photo tour of the various spaces. There’s velvet, there’s a plant wall, there’s a bead curtain, there are strange high-backed floral chairs and squat black-and-white dappled tufts. There’s erotic photography and a neon Champagne light fixture. It’s pink, it’s green, it’s black, it’s gold. Perhaps it’s unfair to photograph a place like this during the day, but it manages to look like the least luxurious yet still very expensive place I’ve seen in a while.

On Eater

This Week on the Podcast

This week on the Upsell, Daniel and I discuss the biggest food stories of March, including Mitt Romney’s unusual way of blowing out candles, Mark Bittman’s new Medium site, vertically sliced bagels, and more.

And we sat down with TV chef Rocco DiSpirito to discuss his return to a New York restaurant kitchen 20 years after his last full-time chef gig.

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