Growing up in Texas, it was super handy having a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish as I came in contact with the language every day. At my highest point in learning it, I was able to write full papers in Spanish and speak only in the language in one of my classes. Needless to say, a lot of time has passed since then and I’ve lost quite a bit of it. But now, instead of wishing that I had retained more of it, I’ve been thinking that it would be really great if I could understand some French. Even a little bit. “Bonjour” and “Oui” is about as much as I’ve got, and I find myself running into tons of French around the city, mainly in restaurant names. You don’t even want to know how I butchered “Levain“…
Pret A Manger is one of those places that I felt like a doofus when saying the name out loud. At least I could just refer to it as “Pret.” I finally looked up what it means in French–“Ready to eat” if you were curious. This makes complete sense seeing as the restaurant/cafe serves all their food in prepared, packaged form so you’re able to grab and go.
Pret’s website calls itself “a cross between a good restaurant, an Italian coffee bar and a bullet train.” I would describe it as a to-go cafe. The food items are all there, ready to go in their individual containers, but they’re also all freshly made as each shop has its own kitchen. Pret focuses on using organic, natural ingredients and avoiding preservatives, additives, and artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. Their site mentions that “the secret to our success is that our service is fast but we don’t sell fast food,” and I think that’s a perfect way of describing it.
For sandwiches, there are options like the Albacore Tuna Salad, California Club, and Classic Cheddar and Tomato. The soups range from Butternut Squash and Apple to Chicken Noodle to Moroccan Lentil. And then there are plenty of additional baguette and croissant sandwiches, wraps, and salads. In other words, this is great lunch food.
I was going to say what I “ordered” but that wouldn’t be accurate since you really just pick up what you want and take it to the counter to pay. I PICKED UP a cup of the tomato and feta soup and a New York meatball hot wrap along with some chips and a drink. Yes, even when this food is sitting out, they keep whatever is best served warm warm on the shelf. They have you covered! When I was eating my lunch, I definitely didn’t feel like I was eating something that had been sitting out. It all tasted fresh, and you can’t beat the speed and ease of getting food here.
If you wanted even more reason to get behind Pret, you should know that they donate their sandwiches leftover at the end of the day to charity instead of keeping them to sell the next day. That’s why they don’t have “shelf life” and “display until” dates on their products. They’re generous and don’t sell old food. That’s a win-win.
Tomato and feta soup, New York meatball hot wrap
New York, NY 10003