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Inside The Celeb-Studded Food Hall, The Pennsy

1918028_1528782344086200_818057255596268563_nOddly enough for a transit hub, Penn Station has long remained one of NYC’s most notorious culinary deserts, temporarily relieved only this past summer by UrbanSpace’s seasonal market, Penn Plates.

But the tide has finally and permanently turned with the recent launch of The Pennsy — an 8,000-square foot space showcasing affordable, to-go concepts from some of New York’s most famous culinary stars.  So here are five persuasive reasons to schedule travel into Penn Station or just wander over for lunch!  From Marc Forgione’s lobster-centric eatery to Pat LaFrieda’s retail temple of meat…

12548961_1529356400695461_5115690632986018006_nLobster Press: This certainly isn’t your average fish shack.  Fronted by Marc Forgione (and inspired by the celebrated Chili Lobster dish at his esteemed Tribeca flagship), this Penn Station spot is 100% dedicated to all things lobster. Using crustaceans obtained from the respected seafood purveyor, Homarus, the menu features Lobster Dip, Coconut Lobster Bisque, Chili Lobster Salad and a warm Lobster “Press;” a decadent, cheesy panini, featuring sweet, plus-sized chunks of the prized shellfish.

Pat LaFrieda: While he supplies top-quality meats to the very best restaurants in NYC and beyond, this is the first time Pat LaFrieda is offering his incredible wares in a retail shop, in 12565440_1529025077395260_4217572995626509474_nthe form of pre-packaged proteins (like his famous burger blend), and mammoth signature sandwiches, such as Black Angus Steak, House Roasted Turkey, Hand Carved Roast Beef, “Grandpa’s” Meatball, Country Ham and Cheese, and tender Chicken with Provolone.

Mario by Mary: The venerable Mario Batali has paired off with celebrity caterer, Mary Giuliani, for this Italian fast-casual concept.  Selections largely run to hot and cold sandwiches served with housemade gardiniera — 12541039_1530057147292053_4883785848683043367_nsuch as a Spicy Sicilian Tuna, a generously stuffed Muffaletta (stacked with Italian cold cuts like soppressata, capicola and mortadella), and the hearty Nonna, featuring eggplant, whipped ricotta and tomato — as well as rustic soups, including White Bean and Escarole, Kabocha Squash and Parsnip, and Chicken Kale Stracciatella, run through with bits of just-cooked egg.

The Cinnamon Snail: This truly original food truck (offering awesome, all-vegan 3ef72e2b4250570bd34ce7544ffe7614savories and baked goods) has opened its first stationary location at The Pennsy.  The menu includes a duo of seriously sloppy seitan burgers (the Korean-style “Gochujang,” topped with sautéed kimchi and black sesame gomasio, and the appropriately named “Beastmode,” amassed with smoked chili coconut ‘bacon’ and jalapeno mac n cheese), as well as Maple Mustard Tempeh and Thai BBQ Sandwiches on spelt bread (alternately served over greens or red quinoa pilaf), and a variety of seasonal donuts and pastries — many of them gluten-free!

Little Beet: Franklin Becker’s Little Beet outpost continues The Pennsy’s unexpectedly 78305-201509241016health-conscious throughline, with a vegetable-focused, wheat-free menu of Miso Chicken Bowls with brown rice and cabbage noodle salad, Salmon Tartare and Avocado Rolls wrapped in nori, a boxed meal of Veggie Patties, made with lentils, chickpeas, quinoa and herbs and sauced with a mint-flecked raita, and a selection of seasonal salads and soups.

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