New Mediterranean spot giving away free meals until 9 p.m.

The line at VERTS earlier this afternoon (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The line at VERTS earlier this afternoon (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

New East 23rd Street restaurant VERTS Mediterranean Grill debuted across from Madison Square Park by offering free entrees on their first day of business today.

Keith Peterson, the vice president of marketing for the company, said that the free meals on the day of a grand opening is a standard business practice for the company, which is based in Texas and recently opened its first East Coast location in Boston recently and the East 23rd Street spot is the restaurant’s first New York location. There are no restrictions on what entrees customers can order and the full menu is available to pick from. Entrees include pitas, salads, rice bowls and quinoa bowls with protein add-ins, vegetable toppings and a variety of sauces. Side orders and drinks are not included in the deal but Peterson noted that the profits from those sales today will be donated to charity.

The restaurant is open until 10 p.m. and plans to serve the free meals until an hour before closing. The line still stretched down the block by 3 p.m., crossing in front of the entrances for neighbors Chop’t and Gasoline Alley Coffee, but Peterson said that it was even longer earlier in the day before the wind started picking up, and there was even a line at 10:30 a.m., half an hour before the restaurant opened for the day. Customers were waiting between half an hour to an hour for their meals and Peterson predicted that the line would get longer again once office workers started leaving for the day.

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