Good Food Company vs. the Commissary
Along the same lines as the pizza battle fought by I Love NY and Gino’s down on Fourth Street, there’s a lunch-food feud in effect between the Good Food Company and the Commissary, both on Third Street between Fulton and Broadway. The two restaurants jostle for the relatively broad “light lunch food” market, and they are fairly evenly matched; personal preference will have to be the overriding factor in choosing between them. The Good Food Company seems to be the reincarnation of 1929 Soup Kitchens, formerly located on the corner of Broadway and Second; the decoration and overall feel of the place are the same, but whether the ownership also is the same is unclear. Regardless, as far as food goes it’s not too much of a change: the menu consists mostly of salads and sandwiches, plus a handful of hot dishes, soups, and the like. There’s seating for about twenty people in a rather ordinary dining room with rather extraordinary picture windows for people-watching. The Commissary, a few doors down, has a very similar menu – sandwiches, soups, and the occasional hot dish – but the differences are in the presentation. This is more a cafeteria-style place, and much more oriented towards take-out. There are about six seats in the front area of the restaurant, which is frugally appointed with napkins, condiments, and silverware (well, plasticware) for taking away, and a TV (which seems always to be tuned to soap operas in the afternoon). The feeling is of speed and disposability. If it sounds like I’m being hard on the Commissary, let me rush to dispel this notion. As it happens, I believe I prefer it to the Good Food Company, for a few reasons. First of all, the prices at the Commissary are better: the Good Food Company tarts up its sandwiches with vaguely upper-middle class garnishes and (as one would thus expect) florid descriptions in the menu, but all in all, these fillips don’t justify to me the extra expense. The Commissary’s no-nonsense customer flow and its simple menu are in fact almost nostalgic of the (perhaps mythical) mid-century lunch counter, where a ham sandwich was a ham sandwich and customers didn’t waste their time, the server’s, or the other patrons’. But I digress. The Good Food Company has its strong points, too, most notably the more comfortable dining atmosphere: if one were looking to take a leisurely lunch with a friend, here would be a better place than the Commissary (but then again, Manory’s would probably be better than either). It’s a toss-up, and in the end there really isn’t much difference between these two restaurants. Whether one’s personal choice between them reflects on one’s character is a question left for the reader.