Mon-Fri, 8am-7pm; Sat-Sun, 10am-6pm
1 at Houston St.; A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
If you're on the hunt for a quick takeout lunch downtown, there are few places better than Blue Ribbon Bakery Market. The Bromberg brothers run a restaurant empire (Blue Ribbon Sushi, Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Blue Ribbon Beer Garden ...), but this is where you can sample much of their food at very little cost. Come for the toasts, which are made fresh with toppings like goat cheese with fig and walnut confit, smoked salmon with capers, duck confit with dijon mustard, and homemade hummus. It doesn't really matter which topping you select (all are exceptional—really!): The highlight of each open-faced sandwich is the thick-cut bread that comes straight from the brick oven across the street. There's very rarely a line in this quaint little café, but if you only have seconds to spare, premade items in the fridge often include a hearty quinoa salad with raisins and cauliflower, a creamy goat-cheese quiche, and spicy tuna and California sushi rolls (made with the same high-quality fish used at Blue Ribbon Sushi). While there's no seating available, there is a bench right outside overlooking a quiet block of the West Village. This is also a fantastic spot to stock up your pantry: Don't leave without matzo crackers, a loaf of Challah bread, a jar of gourmet jam, and a bottle of housemade iced coffee with Blue Ribbon's signature Mexican honey. If you're planning a picnic in the park, you can order a smoked-fish platter or, even better, a fried-chicken feast. Beware: All the tempting to-go items (artichoke spread, Wild Boar sausage, fresh-squeezed lemonade, chocolate-chip cookies) could quickly turn your affordable lunch into an expensive grocery-shopping spree.