Smiler’s (Midtown East)

Smiler'sI’ve always been kind of sickened by the name of this joint. The thought of my food being defined by a big gooey grin is hardly appetizing or even appropriate. Yea, I’m gonna open a coffee house called hand jive. Non sequitur to be sure. The place itself is like an expanded bodega, the walls piled high with Snackwells, cereal and oddball British biscuits. It sounds fancier than it is. Using every available square inch of space, they also pack in the ubiquitous salad bar, the coffee hutch and the giant glass counter that holds meats, cheeses and other parts. Behind that counter are a swirl of dudes cutting and chopping and cajoling orders out of the midtown office crowd. I had a turkey sandwich that was completely passable and reasonably priced for the neighborhood, although it certainly lacked flourish. So when in a relative hurry and not too picky about hygiene or claustrophobic conditions, we say why not come on in and bask in the glory of their pearly whites? [MF]

532 Madison Ave.