Big Nick’s Burger & Pizza Joint closes forever today.
Sunday, July 28, 2013. Mark it down, because someday it could be known as the day the Upper West Side changed forever.
The restaurant on 77th and Broadway has been around for 51 years, but recently the owners of the Hotel Belleclaire upped Nick’s rent to $60,000 per month from $42,000 after the building’s property taxes were raised. As owner Nick Imirziades told us, there’s no way to pay $60,000 when you’re selling burgers and pizza. (The Big Nick’s on 71st street is no longer owned by Nick Imirziades, so the one on 77th is the last of his restaurants.)
Big Nick’s facebook page hadn’t yet announced the news as of Sunday morning. He wrote on Saturday: “When in doubt, have a burger.”
Update: Nick says he’ll be open until 4 a.m. Monday. He also told us today that he’s looking to open a new place between West 96th and 100th, but won’t know for sure for a couple of months.
An employee tells us the space will become a bank, although that’s not confirmed. It would, of course, be completely unsurprising.
As one reader wrote to us:
“I first went to Big Nick’s 34 years ago, for my sister’s 15th birthday. (We were seeing a show across the street.) I’ve been going back ever since. Moved to the Upper West Side 20 years ago and have never lived more than 6 blocks from Nick’s in all that time. High school, college, first jobs… Nick’s was where we’d go. My kids have grown up eating his pizza, his burgers have fueled many a late-night debate among friends (where else would you go after a night of carousing to get good grub in your stomach and prolong the night?) Nick’s is Old New York in the best possible way. The idea that they would be forced to close breaks my heart. Thank you Nick, for being such a great part of my life.”
Here are some more photos, videos and encomiums about Big Nick’s.
Thanks to Zaid for the original tip. He sent it at 2:10 a.m.: “I’m at the place now and I see the decorated walls are already being cleared. I asked the guy and he says its the last day. Store shuts end of Sunday. Incredibly sad.”
fuck this shit. nothing is sacred to greedy landlords and developers.
Thank you to West Side Rag for all of your support. And also to Gale Brewer, Linda Rosenthal, and all our wonderful customers and friends.
Nick… Please come to INWOOD, we would LOVE you up here. I know it. Since I moved here 3 years ago, I have been complaining about how I can’t get a decent burger. Whoever heard of a neighborhood without a decent greasy spoon diner????
Dear LER, whoever you are … CLEAN UP YOUR FOUL MOUTH!! We really don’t need to read your childish cursing! GROW UP!!
Meanwhile, sorry for Mr. Imiriziades’ misfortune…but here’s an idea:
Perhaps he can license the name “BIG NICK’S” … maybe to a chain of ….barber shops ???
Your incorrect grammar and your unnecessary usage of CAPS are far more offensive than the word “fuck”.
Big Nick’s is closing and NYC is being luxufied and your worried about my language? Now, who’s childish. Set your priorities straight and project your anger towards the greedy landlords, dude. Why don’t you grow up and stop riding your scooter. Enjoy being a lemming to your landlord and developers.
LER – I also would appreciate it if you’d watch your language. My kids read this site, in part because I want to inspire THEM to try to preserve this city. I would prefer that they learn that intelligent adults express themselves more politely.
Furthermore, I want them to understand that you are not going to make much progress in dealing with these issues if you speak this way; you’ve undermined your own credibility with your own words.
No actually we do need his cursing because obviously no one is listening when we politely ask politicians to do what’s best for neighborhoods.
Stop the sanctimonious snobbery and get angry about the crap that going on and stop using your head as a cranial suppository.
So how’d that work out for you? Did the four-letter words get Big Nick’s to re-open?
It’s possible to express anger, and even present a convincing argument, without falling back on curse words that do nothing but define the speaker. “Cranial suppository”? Is *that* how you propose to save the neighborhood? Maybe *that*’s why we keep losing mom-and-pops and getting banks and drugstores in their places — because the loudest voices offer the least substance.
NYC has had the guts and heart ripped out of it by developers and efftards like Bloomberg.
NYC was once a city with flavor that was alive and breathing 27/7. Now it’s just concrete and glass monoliths with no soul whatsoever full of mid west transplants claiming to be native new yawkahs.
Jefferson Starship concerts in Central park, drums at Bethesda fountain, Frisbee at the bandshell. All gone or outlawed by the liberaltards that think they own it.
How sad. Nick’s restaurants have been in our lives for many decades. Our son’s first job was washing the windows at Big Nick’s. That was thirty one years ago. He was sixteen. Just yesterday I walked by and waved to Nick, who was sitting outside talking to a friend.
Seems satiric to see people complaining about a little foul language in a comment on an article about how sanitized the UWS has become. OMIGOD MY KIDS MIGHT SEE A BAD WORD. Is this really New York City?
My thoughts exactly. It’s bad enough that the UWS is crawling with children and their helicopter parents, but now we can’t say a mildly inappropriate word in a blog post on the off-chance that one of them reads it?
My boys grew up at’Big Nicks’, it was always special. The people working there saw my two boys grow to me men, it was our special place. It was the upper West Side’s “Cheers”‘ a place where you could always go, and everyone knew you name. Not many places like that left.
Too bad. The place is an amazing place of memories.
Enough comments about someone and their kids. This is a story about a great local institution shutting its doors. The management.
truly a sad day…we’ve known Big Nick since the late 70’s..he is part of the fabric of our life and our family and we will miss his presence in this neighborhood….”Ta Panda Ree”
I’m actually sobbing in my living room as I read this. I grew up just 10 blocks away, and have countless memories of Big Nick’s spanning the time I was a toddler all the way to adulthood. I just can’t believe this is actually happening. I love you, Big Nick’s!
Would be cool if a guy named Richard bought it and changed the name to Big Dicks. Make a dish called Anthony’s Weiner, small cocktail frank and bun
OK I defended the profanity, but this is a truly moronic and juvenile comment. I guess there really are children on this site.
PLEASE come up to Washington Heights! For 32 years I have eaten at your restaurant at all hours of the day and night. Suzy was my son’s favorite waitress (he’s 24 now!). We had to leave the neighborhood because of the ridiculous rents and now loving Washington Heights! We need you Uptown 🙂
It says the rent is being raised to cover property tax increases. So much for greedy landlords and developers. Blame the liberal politicians you elected and their endless tax increases!
Thank you Gladys for actually speaking the truth.
The same politicians who pander and demonize the real estate community are the ones doubling and tripling the taxes (by the assessments not the tax rate).
Real estate taxes pay for all the goodies the moochers like and the politicians are their handmaidens. WE are the most overtaxed city and state in the country – as individuals and property owners. fact: City taxes and takes 1/3 of the gross income on commercial property – while also limited the rent a residential tenant pays (if controlled) so yes the commercial tenants pay more to subsidize the rezy tenants.
add all the redtape , ticketing, applications for a small business and you wonder why they can’t make it.
stop blaming real estate and point to our elected politicans who do not understand basic economics or math!
The death of Big Nicks is hardly the death of the excellent hamburger in NYC. Many many superior burger joints have opened on the UWS and Big Nick has done nothing to keep up with the higher culinary and decor standards we have today. He still has a ‘Needle Park’ mentality and has been coasting downhill for decades. I like the food but its passing is NOT a precursor to apocalypse. BTW, store owners have been complaining about the rent for 200 years in NYC yet the good ones still get rich. They are not dumb enough to admit the rent is easy to pay however.
Sir or Madame I must strongly disagree with you. Nicks is a great place with great food. It is a real pace that caters to the neighborhood. We will miss him and his staff. It is a shame that will are losing him this way.
A special place closing. Lots of memories for all there. BUT, the silver lining of possibly opening a new Big Nick’s a few blocks north… a great idea. Nick, just a note: Look at broadway between 93rd & 94th. A couple of nice spaces are open: 1 – the old Blockbuster (Gail Brewer is using as temporary office space) and 2 – the old Payless shoes. Both are right by the subway entrances! (But I have a good guess where you’re going if you’re already talking between 96-100).
Good luck and reopen soon!
I am so sorry to see this.My sister lived at 72nd and west end for years this was one of my favorites.
Sad indeed, but unfortunately completely predictable. I lived on the UWS for nearly 20 years and have fond memories of many a late night burger in Nick’s restaurant. It was money that eventually forced me out of NYC, and it’s happened to so many others that the true spirit and appeal of the city has eroded and diminished to a point where it’s simply not the same. Another big loss.
Once again the real estate people and the city screw us over.
“Tax rates haven’t gone up.” BS. When you increase the value of the property, you charge more property tax. It’s just a hidden tax increase that politicos have been using for years.
Real Estate is hideously overvalued in this city and it is going to lead us to ruin.
Dang, I’ve got to run out for a burger….
I still can’t believe the prices are so out of hand that landlords can’t be bothered to care about the community. The promise of more money is THAT great.
A modern day tragedy. When I first moved to the Upper West Side in 1979 Nick’s was my neighborhood ‘joint’ and has often been a place to take out of towners for fabulous pizza and burgers. I called so often I didn’t need my Pizza Joint magnet… “724.2010 They Deliver” I’m no longer living in the West 70s but have visited often and will keep an eye out for the new location.
This is a horrible disgrace. Bullshit. The neighborhood is slowing loosing every last bit of it’s character and turning corporate corporate corporate.
Add my voice to those in mourning. I moved to this neighborhood in 1976 and Nick’s has always been the fall-back. My kids grew up there and Cato Junior, age 18, has his first job and Nick feeds him when he’s done — at 2 in the morning.
We missed Niko’s when Nick decided to close, but this is not the loss of a good business. This is the loss of an old friend.
And add my vote, too, to those asking the four-letter-word-throwers to show some restraint. This is a place (and a wonderful place) for the exchange of thoughts and ideas about our shared neighborhood. You don’t offer any thoughts, or show any ideas, by barking obscenities at us. We know those words, too, but don’t need them to communicate.
I used to live around the corner – on 76th – for many years. That whole neighborhood is big box stores and condos now. So sad.
Thanks Nick for all the memories! I hope you find a new space and when you do, I’ll be there!
I’m terribly sad to see this. My wife and I used to stop by this place when we were living in NYC and it was a great local place. I hate to see local establishments getting pushed out of longstanding spaces due to rent increases. Good luck Nick!
Hi im 14 and live in miami florida. I as a kid have loved Big nicks pizza. I have been to NY over twenty times. NY is an un-eraseable part of my life and going to big nicks and having dinner/lunch was always gave me a NY feeling im part of this city outside or in. I dreamed of my son saying dad lets go to big nicks after school and have pizza. I will remember big nicks as a legacy a homecoming a place that made me happy.BN was not just a burger and pizza joint nestled in on busy 77th street its a place were Westsiders gathered to forget about life for a while. BN was a NY legacy gone but never forgotten. I hope one day in the future my son will say dad lets go to Big nicks and I will say yes son lets go and a new bigger better big nicks will be there standing saying your dream is now reality. I love you Big nicks and U will be missed.
When one era dies another era begins.
#Rip Big Nicks. #1962-2013 #NYC #UWS
Manny — Your parents should be very proud to have raised a son who makes his feelings known so nicely.
And your son, in the future, will be a very lucky young man to have a father like you plan to be.
Billionaire developers get billions but zero for small business . We need a council and a mayor that will work for the people who actually live and work in and for the community. People stand up for Big Nicks and stand up for your neighbors against the developers.
Nick! Come up to West Harlem! 117th Street area or even up further to 150th Sugar Hill area! No good pizza up here except for V&Ts – and they don’t do slices!!
Here is the link to leasing site. Looks like store next door is history as well.
The urban vultures begin to circle. Cash! Cash!
I hope that the two “exclusive leasing agents” identified in the sales pitch are happy with themselves, knowing that they are profiting from the strangulation of a beloved local business.
Overpriced for mediocre quality food. Something needs to change.
The express subway and a four block walk makes Little Korea on 32nd an honorary block of the UWS, with over a dozen 24/7 cafes, and even an indoor waterfall. I recently spent thousands of dollars there during creative night owl sessions as a product designer instead of at Nick’s because of the snidely passive-aggressive pony tail waiter and the lack of any young artists on the UWS.
I view 1985 as the beginning of the revival.
You probably just miss your youth.
we all get old.
and the area has improved.
As I recall it was not fun getting mugged or being afraid.
Stop looking to the past with rose colored glasses.
Fuck this shit is right. Big Nick’s, H&H Bagel, Cafe La Fortuna…the UWS we all knew and loved is gone gone gone. I view 1985 as the very beginning of its downfall. Nothing but iPhone robots wandering around now, thinking they’re in New York.
My wife and I have been customers since Nick opened his Joint. Where will we go to get a delicious meal at very reasonable prices,with staff and Nick welcoming us when we go there?
Where will we take our out of town guests for a “New York eating experience”?
I guess these are the “job creators” at work, huh? The 1%, job creators my ass.
Landlord pigs and ravenous landlords who are RUINING this incredible city
In 5 years, the only stores left in Manhattan will be banks and big box chains–wait a minute–that’s NOW. This is horrible.
I’ve been going to Big Nick’s all my life. The only good thing about it is that Big Nick’s will continue…It’s a New York institution. Can’t wait to go to the new location.
Triumph Hotels, the company that owns the Hotel Belleclaire is responsible for this. When people come and visit us and we don’t have room, we have suggested that they stay at the Hotel Belleclaire. No longer. My company and I will do everything we can to steer people to other hotels. Triumph raised Big Nick’s rent and made a business decision. They concluded that there was no downside financially. If folks help to steer business to their competitors, maybe they wouldn’t be so heavy-handed with a neighborhood institution. There are 5 other hotels owned by Triumph. In addition, whatever business moves in, I will boycott as well. The Upper West Side is the neighborhood of activism.
I agree, this is a such a loss for the community and really shameful on the part of Hotel Belleclaire, its management, and the building owners. You think about a luxury hotel like Parker Meridien and how the Burger Joint there is so well integrated and beloved, and then you think of the cold shoulder and ugly street life (seriously, a bank?) these guys have just given to Big Nick’s and the neighbourhood. The ownership invested money to improve the hotel (as I understand it), which raised the property tax, then took advantage of the lease to jam that tax rise straight through to Nick and the local shops. What a crock. Did they spend any money improving Nick’s space? Not that I noticed! Yet he’s on the hook for another $240,000 a year?
I think the thing to do is post a one-star review for Hotel Belleclaire on Yelp and Tripadvisor. Explain how ownership just forced out a very well liked small local business with 50 years of history in the community, by jamming them with a 50% rent hike, it seems so that ownership and management could avoid paying taxes that they didn’t want to pay.
That’s a great idea. I never thought about reviewing it. I always kept it to myself when I’ve seen a rat scurrying outside The Hotel Belleclaire. Now I can share that picture with all of their potential customers. Any increase in rent that they levy on that spot will hopefully be offset by a loss of business in the hotel.
That area between 76th and 79th used to be so rich with little joints and businesses. Burger Joint, the Savor, Gitlitz, another pizza joint, two candy/stationery stores, Woolworths!
WELL AT LEAST WE GET A NEW BANK OUT OF ALL THIS
Thank you so much, Nick – for the late-night-post concert memories and the classic decor! I truly hope you open a new space and when you do, I’ll be there with a bus-load of patrons!
At first hearing this news (weeks ago) I was certainly distraught…’Big Nick’s will close!’ But now, it seems like he will just re-open. Also, it will be further north, like high 90s? low 100s?
…as a manhattanite who grew up here in the 70s/80s, (Bleecker st) this is preferable. The only thing I could ever stomach about the UWS from 60th-96th was a visit to Nick’s and, (if I could deal with it) a quickly-as-possible visit to Zabar’s. Personally, I really don’t need Nick’s to be on 77th st. Big Nick’s (especially since the 90s) had very little to do with it’s immediate area if you ask me. It was a nice little oasis in a repugnant area of pushy snobs. And you could certainly see it in the attitudes of the people in the front, trying as hard as they might to remain polite…
On to greener pastures (and more friendly territory) Big Nick’s!
This makes me sad. My husband and I fell inlove there. He took me there on many dates. It was the place he had to drive me to dyring my pregnancy because I craved their burgers and pickles. It where I had my first burger. I wanted my son to be able to form memories their and taste what real nyc pizza and burger should taste like. I am really sad. I wish this was a dream
This is very sad, although I live on 74th, so 71st street was my big nicks. Either way, not right ):
Thank you for the incredible food!
In the late ’60s I was a regular customer at the pizza side, which was, if I remember correctly, then called Izmir Pizza. The best ever–I probably still haven’t lost the weight. This place was a vital part of the neighborhood, and I guess the big money folks don’t care if any part of the city remains a neighborhood anymore.
This is the result of NIMBY policies restricting the building of new construction. With HUGE historical zones now on the UWS, new building and new supply will be even more limited. That gives power to owners over renters who will be able to raise prices as much as they want. We need more construction and more building supply to bring down rents for retailers and residents (sorry home owners).
Bummer. Big Nick’s was my go-to place for meetings and a midnight delivery was always in order when I was pulling an all-nighter.
Nick — look at Amsterdam avenue between 103 and 104. Several open store fronts there, and a hostel right across the street. Great spot.
I will miss you all so much. Not just the food, but the community, the photos, the music… Love
I remember going to Big Nick’s in about 1972 with my parents – who were divorced & had been for about 6 years – for a birthday lunch. I was 11 or 12 years old. I very rarely saw them in a civil setting at that point in my life. I had a BLT – maybe the first one I ever had. We sat at two two tops pushed together in the back. I sat facing in and they sat nxt to one another against the back wall. It was a nice meal, but melancholy even then ’cause I knew it wasn’t quite the new beginning, but it’s a really sharp memory for me
I sure hope we get a bank in there — there are so few in the neighborhood! One time, I walked a block and needed a bank and there wasn’t one RIGHT there. It was so depressing.
I am so sorry to see you go! The UWS won’t be the same without you 🙁 Unfortunately, this type of thing is one of the reasons I no longer live in NYC. I miss it everyday but just can’t afford to be there.