So it’s like two. In the morning.
Everything is closing down, or they’re not happy to see you walk in. But you’ve gotta have a snack before you head home. Gaslamp may have a few pizza-shawarma joints still going, but you want just a good standard meal. Place to sit down, gather your thoughts. Without the pressure of waiters stacking chairs around you.
There’s late-night hope, just inside
Surprise! The place I came across late the other night is up in the vast lobby of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. It’s called Market One, and it’s open 24 hours. They have food. And you don’t have to be a guest at the hotel. But you can still sweep in through the main entrance like you’ve just dismissed your limo.
It’s right in the lobby
It opened last Christmas Eve and hasn’t been closed a moment since. Still looks fresh.
Okay, you know you’re gonna get stung with premiums for it being a 24-hour place in an upscale hotel. And the shelves are loaded with pre-packaged sandwiches and salads and energy drinks. But they do have a few items they can reheat for you such as Cuban sandwiches, panini, and I see a three-cheese pizza going for $10 or a sausage and pepperoni for $12.
The morning I came in, I worked my way through clumps of business mavens just back from wine ’n’ dine in the Gaslamp, I’ll bet. The first thing I need is coffee. Costs $3.25. Then I’m hungry enough that I ask for soup of the day, which is a kind of tomato bisque ($5). And, what the heck, I add a burger ($10).
One Market Place, San Diego
“We’ll call you,” says the barista, Nicole. I head out into the main lobby and find a table and start getting caught up in all the intense discussions among the returning business folk. Explosions of laughter, reassuring pats on upper arms.
Fresh fruit as well as reheated meals
“Oh there you are,” says Nicole, ten minutes later. “I’ve been calling for you all over.” She lays down the burger box and the to-go pot of soup. I have to say, the bisque is the best. Rich, with lots of chewable veggies and beans in it. When I ask, Nicole goes and finds some slices of baguette for me to dip in it.
And the burger’s, well, simple. Tomato, lettuce, and burger patty. But the meat’s half an inch thick and dark brown with plenty of juice inside.
The burger has a nice fat patty
It’s nice that I can pack what I don’t eat, including the bisque, in sturdy, over-the-top packaging. ’Course, I could have done with a beer or glass of wine. But beer is $5 to $7 a bottle, and you can’t get wine by the glass — only by the bottle, for between $26 and $39. Liquor sales stop at 1 a.m. anyway.
The best news is now I know there’s somewhere downtown I can hit for bellyfilling in a classy atmosphere any time of day or night.