Best Speed+Style Lunchtime Combo

Fournos Café

Tired of carrying out, ordering in, or settling for the soup-and-sandwich combo at your local deli, just so you can rush back to the office and plant your nose firmly on that grindstone? The folks at Fournos Café feel your pain. To help, they've designed a speedy lunchtime-ordering system that enables workers to enjoy such grown-up amenities as real food, hefty flatware, and comfortable seating while still getting back to the cube farm in plenty of time to complete afternoon chores. It works like this: Incoming guests go directly to the counter at the rear of the restaurant, order from a fairly circumscribed list of options posted on overhead menu boards (gyros, panini, pastitsio, salads, and the like), and hand over their money; they proceed to the self-service beverage island and then grab a seat at one of the commodious tables or booths. Within minutes, cheerful runners appear with prettily plated meals; the same staffers will return later to clear the table, no tipping required. As a result, lunch at Fournos deftly combines the niceties of sit-down dining with the efficiency of a fast-food pit stop, acid indigestion not included.