Tuck Shop (or the Hidden Jems of the CyberCafe- Part 1 of 2)

Nothing is more fulfilling then finding a hidden food jem in Midtown.  It can come in all forms too.  There’s the place that is well known, but literally hidden- like the Burger Joint, hidden behind a curtain at the Parker Meridien Hotel.  Then there’s the place that looks like a boring deli, but has a hidden specialty- like the Korean food at Cafe Duke.  And of course there is discovering that good food cart, which in Midtown is literally like finding a needle size hot dog, in a haystack size pile of gigantic sausages.

But the most rewarding find, is the truly hidden jem.  The one that nobody tells you about.  The one you find on your own, without reading anything about it, or getting an email from a reader.  It’s pretty tough too.  There are very few places that I haven’t been emailed about, and somehow this double jem has managed to slip through the cracks.  Lucky for me, I walk by it every day on my way home from work…

I’m talking about the CyberCafe, a euro-style internet cafe that caters to backpackers and tourists looking to jump on-line while they sip on coffee or eat boring sandwiches and pastries.  But this is not your ordinary internet cafe.  Actually it is… in every way but one.  The food.  The CyberCafe is home to two of the best (and most unique) Midtown Lunch options:  Tuck Shop & Madeliene “The Crepe Lady”.  I have no idea how it happened, or what the business arrangement is, or who thought it would be a good idea to put these two delicious lunch options inside an internet cafe for tourists… but who cares.  It’s there, so we might as well take advantage of our stroke of good luck!

What’s a tuck shop, pictures, and more- after the jump…

I always complain about how I wish I worked in the East Village.  Momofuku Saam Bar, Vanessa’s Dumplings, Otafuku, tons of ramen bars… the list goes on and on.  Well finally, the East Village has come to Midtown.  The first Tuck Shop outpost, serving delicious Australian Meat Pies, is on 1st St. btw. 1st & 2nd Ave.  Their second is in Midtown… inside the CyberCafe.  Now, I don’t want to get preachy… but if you are like me- and want to see more of these kind of places (and less boring delis and fast food chains) opening in Midtown, you gotta support!  Show those East Village hipster restaurant owners that Midtown is where it’s at!!!  (Ok… now I sound silly.  Forget that last part…)  Here’s how to get your delicious Aussie Meat Pie…   

The “Tuck Shop” part of the internet cafe is basically a glass case filled with meat (and vegetable) pies.  The name comes from something that exists at most schools in Australia, and is usually run on a volunteer basis by the kids’ moms.  In the morning, you drop off a brown paper bag with your lunch order on the outside and your money on the inside.  At lunch time, you would go to the tuck shop and pick up your bagged lunch.  Sounds awesome!  Especially if that lunch is a meat pie!

If you’ve ever been to the UK, and enjoyed a steak & kidney pie, or a cornish pasty- then you pretty much get the idea.  Pie, filled with meat and veg.  Simple and delicious.. and the Tuck Shop doesn’t disappoint! (For those who have never been out of the country, think KFC Chicken Pot Pie- but good.)  For $5 you can choose between a number of different pies filled with beef, chicken, lamb or vegetables.  They also have a curry pie option, and daily pie specials.  If you’re just looking for a snack, they also have $3 sausage rolls, and veg rolls.

If combos are your thing, then $8 gets you any meat pie with a salad, and $10 gets you the “Tucker Box”… any pie, salad, soda and a bite size dessert.  I would recommend going with a friend,  that way, you each can get a pie, and then share one of Madeliene “The Crepe Lady”‘s delicious sweet crepes!  She also makes savory crepes, quiche, pastries and more… but more on that tomorrow.  Madeliene deserves her very own “Hidden Jems of the CyberCafe” post!!!

THE +

  • If you like flaky pies, filled with meat and vegetables- you will love the Tuck Shop
  • The pies sit in a glass case, so the potential for them to taste not so fresh is there.  Surprisingly, they were flaky on the outside and warm and delicious on the inside.  (Freshness not guaranteed as the day goes on…)
  • Easy to take to go, and could be eaten with your hands (Not like a “Shepherd’s Pie” you would get at an Irish Bar that needs to be eaten with a fork and knife)

THE -

  • If you don’t like meat and veg pies, this pie is probably not going to change your mind.
  • They are cheap, but on the small size.  If you are a fat man (like me), a $5 pie is probably not going to fill you up.  I would recommend getting a pie, and then sharing a sweet crepe (from Madeliene “The Crepe Lady”) with a friend.  You’ll be full, and lunch will cost about $15-$17 for the two of you.  Totally reasonable for a freshly made crepe, and a delicious meat pie!
  • It’s not health food (but not too greasy either…)

Tuck Shop (in the Cyber Cafe), 250 W. 49th St. (btw. B’way & 8th Ave.), 212-757-8481

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8 Responses to Tuck Shop (or the Hidden Jems of the CyberCafe- Part 1 of 2)

  1. yvo says:

    Mm, meat pie!!!

  2. Katie says:

    I have been waiting for you to post this, I am Australian coming to new york shortly and I wanted to make sure that the pies were good, I have very high standards!!! You should try a lammington, meat pies (like steak or steak and gravy) MUST be eaten with tomato sauce, chicken pies are good without.

  3. a reader says:

    Funny, I was just reading day 3 of falafel (okay, so I’m behind) and there’s a comment dated june 22 from the guys at the tuck shop asking you to come by and try an aussie pie. maybe the comment stuck in your head and guided you to find this place.

  4. [...] I thought the Tuck Shop had fallen prey to some teenage prank when I spotted their sign walking home from work the other day: [...]

  5. [...] There are a lot of reasons I choose to write about a place.  Being “Cheap” is a given… but other than that the first, and most obvious is the food.  A lot of the places I write about do something interesting- something that isn’t available everywhere.  Whether it’s the Indian Burritos at Kati Roll, the rice balls at Oms/b, the various ramen places, or the meat pies at Tuck Shop- these postings are most popular because they are destination lunches- worth walking that extra 5 or 10 minutes if you don’t work right near the place. [...]

  6. [...] I was walking to work the other day and got handed a menu for the Tuck Shop, an Australian Meat Pie shop hidden away in an Internet Cafe that I wrote about a little over a month ago.  In the menu I saw an item that I hadn’t noticed before… “The Floater”.  Any Aussie pie of your choice, covered in pea soup made by Madeleine the Crepe Lady (a little old French lady who makes crepes in the same Internet Cafe).  It sounded like a marriage made in heaven… and with the weather starting to get gross- the perfect winter lunch. [...]

  7. Pat says:

    Just tried it out… Got the traditional meat pie. It was spicy and tasty and hot.
    The place was definately *not* crowded. I walked in and got served right away
    (yes table service with a real plate, real fork, real knife, and (paper) napkin).

    Good enough to go back for more despite the walk.

  8. Mark says:

    Sorry, but the pies at Cyber sucks!!!

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