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Quiet please! Know a cheap and quiet restaurant or coffee place?

My weekly discussion group (4 people) has been temporarily displaced and we need to find a new location in public in Manhattan! I am hoping you guys can help me find an inexpensive restaurant or coffee place that is quiet enough to have a conversation, casual enough not to kick us out after an hour, and has enough food options so both carnivores and vegans can find something to eat.

Ethnicity and location are pretty unlimited, though I think staying west of Fifth Ave would be most convenient for all of us. By cheap, I mean one could get a light meal, like a sandwich and an iced tea, or a shared meal, like Indian or Chinese, for about $12-$18 each. Even a picnic table somewhere that is likely to be empty would work.

I would love to know what you think. Thanks for any help you can give!

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  1. Central Park, Bench # 77

    1. Kaffe 1668, (the 401 greenwich st location has the best seating) and also a great selection of vegan options for food.

      Any of le pan quotidian's locations locations would work, i've never been rushed out and there are many well labeled vegan choices. (And an impressive gazpacho right now)

      Otherwise you could pick up food in chelsea market (one lucky duck or friedman's lunch for vegans) and then sit and eat/discuss on the highline benches somewhere...

      1. You don't say what time of day? Lunch hour? Mid-afternoon? Dinnertime? Late-night (i.e. past 8 p.m.)? Something else? Weekday? Weekend?

        Depending on when your group gets together, the Panera in Midtown on 5th might work. They're generally pretty empty, relatively quiet, past 7 p.m. on weekdays, and there's a room in the back that's secluded enough to work for your group get together.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Sorry ipsedixit, I meant to say around 7pm.
          Thanks!

          1. re: suedot

            Then I think Panera should work fine.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Hi ipsedixit, when you say midtown on 5th, did you mean the one at 33rd St or the one at 39th St.?

              1. re: suedot

                39th

                a block or two south of Bryant Park and the NYPL.

                back area, adjacent to where you pickup your food, would work well, as it's sort of secluded and cordoned off, and past 6 or 7, pretty empty.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    This worked out very well! Thanks!

          2. the atrium at 57th & Madison, one block east of Fifth, has public seating, remains mostly quiet, and has direct access to Obika, a Japanese mozzarella bar that serves sandwiches, pastas, salads, and coffees.

            1. The Wafel Cafe at 15 Ave. B.

              'wichcraft near Lincoln Center

              1. Pangea on 2nd Ave. Not the best coffee in NYC, but worth it, since it's like a big, comfy living room.