Big Nick's Burger Joint and Pizza Joint was a New York City establishment that most Upper West Siders know. Located on Broadway between 76th and 77th Street, this was the place I would default to for those late night burgers, even past midnight. Open 24/7, Big Nick's wasn't a particularly fancy or large diner, but the selection of burgers from the incredibly lengthy (some would say ridiculous) menu was impressive. And it's not just burgers and pizzas. They had the full selection of items that other diners had too. Anything from pastas, to salads, to club sandwiches, you name it, they had it. Yet, despite all the variations, I always settled for the garlic burger. I wouldn't even bother with the menu whenever I frequented the place.
The reviews on Yelp and other food sites were often mixed, with out-of-towners comprising the bulk of the lower scores. What most non-New Yorkers don't realize was what Big Nick's represented. Sure, the burgers weren't the absolute best. Sometimes, the beef patties were a little dry or burnt. The pizzas tended to be a little cold. You were expected to share tables when it was crowded. But the fact that it was open at 3 AM and seven minutes away from my place after my buddies and I just finished an 8-hour session of Street Fighter Zero 2 was what made it great (yes, I call it Zero, not Alpha, following the Japan/Asia region). And did I mention that they delivered too? I never ordered in, though, choosing to always get the full experience on its premises.
Sadly, the original Big Nick's closed its doors in 2013 due to rising rents and failed negotiations, putting an end to a 50+ year old institution. According to Super C, the space has remained vacant for a while, which shows that the landlord would rather leave it empty for years at a higher rate than to renew the lease. Business as usual in NYC, I suppose. There seems to be a new iteration of Big Nick's now under new management at 70 W 71st St. However, folks tell me it's just not quite the same. But I did my part in preserving it in my books.