One NYC Eatery Has Kept the Power Lunch Flame Burning Since the 1980s

Some power lunches never go out of style

Interior of Michael's at a 2005 event.
Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The power lunch is a type of meal unlike any other — in part because, in its most basic form, what’s actually on the menu is less important than who’s doing the dining. That doesn’t mean that a power lunch can’t involve delicious food; rather, in its decades-old heyday, the meal in question is more about the power part than the lunch part.

What does it mean for a restaurant to tap into the heyday of the power lunch in 2024? That’s a question that Dana Brown wrestled with in a new article for Air Mail. The subject of that article? Michael’s New York, an eatery situated on West 55th Street that’s been there since 1989 and is home to art by the likes of Frank Stella and Jasper Johns.

Why focus on Michael’s? Brown points out that it’s “the sole survivor of the big three media-power-lunch spots,” and the article that follows offers a complex assessment of its current status. It still draws well-known figures from business and media to dine there, and Brown points to “something nostalgically charming about the place” even as he’s critical of the food.

There’s also the matter of more intangible features to eating there. Brown writes that, at Michael’s, “you can have a conversation without having to lean in to hear what your dining partner is saying, and there are fewer and fewer restaurants I can say that about.” As someone well acquainted with the phenomenon Brown describes, it’s not hard to see the appeal of an eatery that’s figured out a way around it.

The Power Lunch Is Returning to Full Strength at The Lambs Club in NYC
Three-starred Michelin chef Michael White has made his Stanford White burger the centerpiece of a new lunch menu

Power lunches do seem to be making something of a comeback in New York City and elsewhere. If the concept first birthed decades ago is going to get new life, it seems very fitting that one of the original hotspots for it should get a return to the spotlight.


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