Volume 76, Number 52 | May 23 -29, 2007

A Salute to Union Square

A Special Villager Supplement

New tastes range from falafel to Thai; Bar offers comfort with mac ’n’ cheese

By Kristin Edwards 

The Blind Pig, 233 E. 14th St.
Liam Hayden and Gareth Faden, co-owners of The Blind Pig, which takes its name from the speakeasies of Prohibition, describe their bar as a place where sports, drinks and great food come together. In addition to regular bar-food favorites, like buffalo wings, French fries and burgers, The Blind Pig offers comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf and chicken potpie. They offer daily lunch specials of a salad and wrap for $7.95.

Happy hour lasts all day until 8 p.m. with $3.50 drafts and $5 well drinks. Hayden and Faden say business has been pretty steady since they opened and they expect it to increase once they add outdoor seating. The owners say Union Square was a great location choice because, “It’s such a high-traffic area.” 

Maoz Vegetarian, 38 Union Square East
This vegetarian falafel chain first opened in Amsterdam in 1991. The restaurant, which is short on seating, serves as a great option for food on the go, a healthy alternative to fast food. Each Maoz sandwich starts as a pita stuffed with fried falafel balls made of chickpeas. Customers then pick from a variety of vegetables and 10 sauces. The sandwiches start at $4.50, with additions like eggplant, humus and feta cheese added for an additional fee (The Maoz Royal with eggplant and humus is $5.45). For patrons watching carbohydrates, they also offer salad boxes.

In addition to the sandwiches, Maoz offers fresh squeezed carrot, orange or apple juice. Belgian fries are also on the menu. The restaurant is open till 1 a.m. during the week, and 3 a.m. weekends. “It’s a great place for late-night munchies or a little snack,” said the restaurant’s manager. The restaurant is one of three Maozes in the United States, with the other locations in Philadelphia and Boynton Beach, Fla.

Thai Me Up, 238 E. 14th St.
Located just across the street from The Blind Pig, Thai Me Up offers a new spin on American Thai food — the Thai sandwich. Customers have a choice of chicken, vegetable or beef sandwiches and a choice of three sauces, Black Pearl, a blend of soy and oyster sauce; Pine Grand, a sweet-and-sour sauce with pineapple and garlic; and the spicy White Ginger sauce. All sandwiches come with eight vegetables, including broccoli, mushrooms, snow peas and corn.

Owner Amir Hushinsky said that in Israel, where he’s from, they don’t have Chinese takeout restaurants like New York, instead offering Thai sandwiches. “When I came to New York, I really missed them,” Hushinksy said. So he decided to open his own restaurant, and after six years of planning and saving, the result is Thai Me Up. Hushinsky said his sandwiches are a little different, since he uses baguettes and more vegetables.

The restaurant also offers noodle bowls, salads, coconut soup and fruit smoothies. They plan on introducing Thai iced tea and their own take on Pad Thai later this year.

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