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Theater District this evening

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I'm taking my students (adults -- grad students) to a play on 42nd Street tonight -- 8pm curtain. We want to eat together beforehand. John's Pizza won't take a reservation for a group smaller than 15 -- we are a group of 9. We'd like to meet somewhere at 6:30. John's said we have to come before 6pm if we want to have even a prayer of being out by 7:30. These are broke grad students, so I want to keep the price down, but don't want fast-food atmosphere or (lack of) quality. (I did do a "theater district" and "Times Square" search here, but after 35 minutes of looking at posts that got no answeres because they weren't specific or that are old enough to make me wonder if the info is out of date, I am ventuirng a new post.) Thanks.

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  1. You can also try a search on "Hell's Kitchen".

    Check out Tulcingo Del Valle on 10th b/t 46 and 47. It's very good and inexpensive Mexican.

    1. If you don't mind heading to 9th ave, there are some very good choices. I like Market Cafe a lot. But there are lots of choices for good, cheap ethnic eats that should fit the bill. If you don't mid walking even further west, Tulcingo Del Valle on 10th ave is a good choice too.

      1. Ollie's, on 42nd bewteen 9th and 10th, is cheap, furiously effiicent, Chinese that wouldn't break the already the broke grad student wallet.

        1 Reply
        1. re: 280 Ninth

          Ditto on Ollie's Sichuan. The menu is more extensive and interesting than the regular Ollies', the atmosphere is relatively pleasant, they're very fast, they're reasonably priced, and - guessing that your theatre is probably between 9th and 11th - perfectly located for your group.

        2. Maison on 53rd is fairly big, pretty good, not too expensive and was able to get me out quickly to make an 8:00 show.

          1. Don Giovanni's on 44th (btwn 8 & 9 Aves) offers fresh, affordable italian with nice comfy ambiance. You can easily get a good meal for under $20 pp at this place. My personal fave is pasta puttanesca. Not sure if you can make reservations but pre-theatre hours tend to be busy in general so get there as early as you can.

            1. When I'm in the theater district I go to the very reasonably-priced Edison Cafe (lovingly known as the Polish Tearoom") 228 W. 47 Street bet. Broadway & 8th Ave (212-840-5001) They have some excellent homemade soups and serve everything from burgers, salads, blintzes and full meals. I've seen large groups there where they can move tables around to fit the group.

              The space is like a time capsule from the 50s (luncheonnette style) but lots of choices are Eastern European. Posters from various plays-past and present-hang on the walls which always puts me in the mood for the theater.

              1. John's Pizzeria has given you excellent advice. While most Theater District restaurants are geared up to get the pre-theater dining crowd out quickly in order not to miss the curtain, I think with a group this size, gathering at 6:30 p.m. will not give you adequate time to settle in, put in your order, and eat without choking down your food. If this were two people, I'd say it's doable. But 9?! Even 6 p.m. could be a problem. That's usually when these restaurants get hit the hardest. To play it safe, I'd make the reservation for 5:30. All that said...

                Cascina, on 9th Av., b/t 45th & 46th Sts., serves excellent Italian food. It's a large space, so no problem handling a big group. In fact, when we were there a few weeks ago for a pre-matinee lunch, there was a large group -- more than 9 I think. The menu includes pizzas, and they are willing to split pastas. Prices overall are quite moderate.