West Siders Fret as Big Nick’s Has Been Closed for Several Days

Big Nick’s Burger Joint and Pizza Joint Too at 70 West 71st Street, which has been around for decades, has been closed for several days, months after the owners lost a lawsuit having to do with employee wages. No one has been answering the phone at the restaurant, which was dark even on Super Bowl Sunday. An email we sent to an address associated with the restaurant was not returned.

“Please tell me this is only temporary,” wrote Doug Smoyer.

Six employees at Big Nick’s filed suit against the restaurant in 2016 alleging that they were forced to work overtime without being paid for it, and that they were paid below minimum wage. In November, a federal jury ruled against the owners and they were ordered to pay more than $2 million.

The restaurant is a spinoff of the original Big Nick’s on Broadway and 76th, although it was sold in 1986 to new owners. The original Big Nick’s closed in 2013.

Photo by Debbie from West 70th.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 27 comments | permalink
    1. BigNicksMiss says:

      The original Big Nick’s should be brought back to life. The one mentioned above is a far cry from it.

    2. Mike says:

      What part of “In November, a federal jury ruled against the owners and they were ordered to pay more than $2 million” would lend anyone to believe they were going to remain open shortly after November?

      Loss for the neighborhood, but par for the course these days. Seems any modestly priced restaurant is forced out one way or another.

      • Paul says:

        If this owner was blatant enough to run up such a high liability to so few people you can bet it knew what was coming, and had long since squirreled away the money in question, safe from judgements.
        An owner who knows what he’s doing and acts accordingly deserves no sympathy and shouldn’t be lumped in with others whose efforts can’t be sustained. The idea that this kind of activity was “par for the course” is, quite frankly, a slap against capitalism.

    3. Suzanne says:

      Glad the exploited workers took a courageous stand.

    4. Kenneth says:

      What part of not paying your employees overtime and minimum-wage makes you think they deserve to stay in business – Other than to generate the cash necessary pay the back wages

    5. Bruce Bernstein says:

      what is described is wage theft. the owners were stealing from their employees. if they close, i hope the employees can chase down the debt against the individual owners.

    6. Weird That Way says:

      If they didn’t pay minimum wage or overtime, then they don’t deserve to be in business. Full stop.

    7. William P Dunn says:

      Great news. These employees have put themselves on the unemployment line. They better hope hat this verdict holds on appeal.

      • TOM E says:

        great now everyone loses

      • Pay Up Putos. says:

        Unemployed as opposed to working as slaves?

      • robert says:

        Yes it takes courage to do that. And to put them down for doing that is distasteful unless you yourself are a business owner who wants or does the same thing in order to outright threaten your employees.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        Put themselves on unemployment line by demanding to get paid?

        You must enjoy slavery..

      • BklynJan says:

        What was their alternative? To continue to let themselves be exploited for the benefit of the dishonest owners?

    8. Mitch Davis says:

      I had fond memories of this restaurant for decades, but in the past 10 years i guess a younger generation took it over and has mismanaged it. Food quality went down and so it looks taking care of their employees.

      This Big Nick’s hasn’t been the same as the old days for some time.

    9. Joel Fram says:

      There’s a “For Rent” sign in the window.

    10. Mike D Nyc says:

      As a 40-year resident of the UWS in the 70s I’ve eaten at Big Nick’s and Big Nick’s II many times.
      Great burgers at both places, and more interestingly the wait staffs and cooks at both places were the real deal, good citizens of this planet.
      I’m sorry to see this place close and I am appalled that ownership apparently so mistreated these fine human beings.
      Is there a good UWS forensic legal accountant who is willing to help these employees get what they’re owed?
      If so, here’s your opportunity to step up and punch your ticket to Heaven.

    11. Jay says:

      Finally this place is closed and I hope it stays that way. It was an affront to the memory of the original Big Nick’s on Broadway. Last time I ate hear it was inedible, dirty and gross. It should stay closed!

    12. James says:

      It says STORE FOR RENT.

    13. boopsie says:

      The pizza was great. The other neighborhood pizza joints (the few that are left) truly stink.

      I miss Rigolettos. I don’t miss the overpriced Faranellas.

    14. Tostonesfix says:

      I wonder if the owners actually pay the judgement, how much will go to the workers and how much will go to the lawyers. I think it would have been more courageous of the workers to quit and find better jobs than letting lawyers come in and sink somebody’s business. This is a pizza joint, not a multi-national corporation. The same thing happened to Saigon Grill. The American dream destroyed by New York-style litigation. Again. Hurray!

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        the American dream? paying immigrants below minimum wage, and not paying them for overtime?

        • Steve says:

          Bruce Bernstein:

          They weren’t immigrants knucklehead.

          Do the math folks. $2 million doesn’t past thru this business in a year. What is this judge smoking?
          This place is not coming back.

    15. diane says:

      I will miss Big Nicks BOTH of them!!!! NYC is going to hell.