Meal Pal: The Affordable Lunch Service For The Busy Manhattanite


I joined MealPal back when I was living and working in Manhattan. I was skeptical about the process but after a friend and coworker encouraged me multiple times to try it out, I gave in and surprisingly enjoyed the experience. I was living on PB&J sandwiches and coffee most days at that time, and as a broke New-Yorker I was looking for every excuse to save money and cut corners where I could. But I always ended up spending money unnecessarily at delis and vending machines because my sandwiches stopped cutting it at some point and

I wanted lunches that were both affordable and more substantial. Enter-- Mealpal.

What is it?

Mealpal a great concept because it supports local restaurants, as they can make their Mealpal menu item of the day in bulk and it's also affordable for those who get lunch out regularly. It also helps give your lunches a bit of variety, because you can pick from different participating restaurants each day. The food has ranged from really great at some places, to bland at others. I think it's a bit of a gamble depending on the type of food and where you choose two reserve from. I highly encourage you to look up the restaurants in advance and check out the ratings!

How does it work?

Mealpal is somewhat of a subscription service that involves you signing up for at least a month and picking from a range of credits, depending on how often you wanted to get lunches out. The meals we're pretty affordable at roughly $6-$6.50 each (though you do book credits worth, so you pay in bulk out of the gate). You have 30 days to use all of the meals within your allotted credit amount before you get charged for a new month. Keep in mind meals don't roll over! So its a use it or lose it situation, which really encourages you to get your moneys worth.

This is NOT a delivery service unfortunately, so you do have to go pick up your meals. This means finding a meal you want within a nearby radius to your home or office. You can search participating restaurants on the MealPal app, then you reserve your meal either the evening before or first thing the morning of, so the restaurant knows how many to prepare. Be sure to set a daily reminder, because it's easy to forget!

It's not by name and I've noticed it's typically a quick moving line-- almost similar to a cafeteria-- where you scan your app QR code and they hand you a brown bag! Nice, simple and quick!