Update: UWS Big Daddy’s Restaurant Plans to Close, Then Reopen as a Fine-Dining Restaurant; Here’s the ‘Official Statement’

Big Daddy’s, the retro family-style restaurant at 2545 Broadway on the corner of 91st Street, plans to close on March 1, a manager told West Side Rag on Wednesday.

The restaurant will undergo renovations for about two months and then reopen as a “fine-dining” establishment, said Celeste, a manager at Big Daddy’s. Celeste said she expects to stay on at the new restaurant, and some other staffers are expected to be transferred to other locations.

Update: On Thursday, Julie Zucker of Big Daddy’s sent WSR the following “official statement”:

After nearly a decade of great food and good times, due to changing neighborhood demographics and dining habits, we will be changing the Big Daddy’s Upper West Side concept. We will be rebranding the space as a new Mediterranean concept that we believe will be a great fit for the neighborhood. We have enjoyed being part of the Upper West Side community as Big Daddy’s and we thank each and every guest that has dined with us. We look forward to welcoming old customers and new as we rebrand and reopen to the UWS community. For any customers looking for their Big Daddy’s fix, we invite them to visit us at our Gramercy location at 239 Park Avenue South between 19th and 20th where we will continue to serve our famous burgers, shakes, tots and breakfast all day!

Big Daddy’s talked about the change at a recent community board meeting, although it was not clear at the time when the changes would take place. The new spot is expected to serve Mediterranean food, open for lunch and dinner, as well as have a bar. It’s not yet clear what the name will be. The news is likely to upset some Upper West Siders, one of whom commented on our last story that “the menu is perfect for families and [it] was one of our go-to spots.”

And what will happen to these wondrous tater tots??

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FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 23 comments | permalink
    1. Carlos says:

      The UWS needs family friendly restaurants like Big Daddy’s a lot more than another generic Mediterranean place. Whenever I have been there it has always seemed pretty crowded, and I think they did a decent delivery business. Service was extremely hit or miss – several times I went they were severely understaffed and there was a male manager who was awful. Big Daddy’s will be missed.

    2. michael says:

      Big Daddy’s was one of the first restaurants to cater to families with food related allergies. Will it still be nut free?

    3. Bigger Daddy says:

      Did they do any market research on this? How many Mediterranean places do we need? There are already two on Broadway right there, plus Bodrum on Amsterdam, plus Lokal on Columbus, plus like 5 others. City Diner must be thrilled. Big Daddy’s is making a big mistake.

    4. Helen Miller says:

      Happy to see it change, as servings arrive in such gargantuan proportions and with enough fat and carbs for a year. The kids like it, but it’s a guaranteed to put you in a food coma every time. That said, I’m going to have to enjoy one (or two) of their DELICIOUS pancake shakes before they go. 🙂
      Hope the new restaurant is a good one.

      • Joe says:

        Recent research has shown that it is possible to eat only part of a gargantuan serving. In most cases, one can even take the remaining food home and get a second meal out of it.

    5. Teacupsugarqueen says:

      Big Daddy’s has been a huge disappointment food and wait staff wise for years. My last experience there was so bad, the manager didn’t charge us for the meal. Not one order was correct and it took over 30 minutes to come from the kitchen. The place was empty so no excuses. It’s time to move on. Hope their new restaurant is better.

    6. Upper Best Side says:

      As a young lad who grew up in the UWS in the mid-aughts, Big Daddy’s was our Algonquin Hotel, its back room our Algonquin Round Table.

      Squeezed into its technicolor vinyl booths were luminaries of the UWS tween élite… The kids whose Bar Mitzvahs were the stuff of legends. The Safe Haven basketball stars. The girls with the Juicy Coture sweatsuits.

      Over Oreo Milkshakes and tater tots we would debate the pressing social topics of our time: Was Ms. Burnett an alien? Who was the hottest girl in Delta? What is truly “third base”?

      I will always remember those afternoons. RIP Big Daddys.

    7. Christine E says:

      There is no problem with the current concept, which is wildly successful despite terrible management, service, and quality control. Why would anyone expect that to improve under a new concept?

    8. Cyrus says:

      I, for one, will miss Big Daddy’s. It’s a fun, indulgent place to go on occasion. And the tater tots were delish. Though I think they may have raided my childhood bedroom since the place was decorated with my old lunch boxes 🙂

    9. Marcia says:

      Too bad about Big Daddy’s, though the service was always abysmal.

    10. Brian says:

      First Harriet’s Kitchen and now this. What a joke

    11. Rob G. says:

      Sorry to see the Big Daddy’s go. Yes it’s loud, yes it’s hit or miss service, but it’s pretty unique for the area and I love taking my kids there.

      That said, the area could use more fine dining establishments (Boo Popeye’s! Boo McDonald!s!) so I’m thankful for that.

    12. Jose Habib says:

      Seems like every single new UWS restaurant is “Mediterranean” now. How much hummus and lamb do people need?

    13. wombatNYC says:

      City Diner is probably enjoying this bit of news from Big Daddy’s . The Diner will be packed !

    14. sam mosenkis says:

      High quality, natural and healthy, Big Daddy’s was not. The service was awful, handled by chatty teenagers. But it was roomy, very family-friendly and frankly, served delicious food that both my children and I enjoyed (a rarity). There really are few places like that in the neighborhood, let alone Manhattan. I hate eating out with my kids, bit this was a haven, and our go-to place. Good luck trying to maximize profits with a higher price menu. Upscale Mediterranean is not needed and won’t work in that spot and many loyal customers aren’t happy (judging by the informal poll of the parents at school).

    15. Judy says:

      That’s OK– City Diner s just across the street! A great UWS institution and community gathering place that deserves our loyalty and support.

    16. UWS Zaddy says:

      WAAAAAAAAAACK! I need my burger w/ mac and cheeseeeeee

    17. Mark Moore says:

      Emphasis on BAR. They just want to sell more alcohol. You don’t sell a lot in a kid-oriented place. The food is secondary.

    18. Zanarkand says:

      There is definitely a need for more kid friendly restaurants in the UWS. Sadly this one was just too hit or miss with service that I stopped taking a chance dining in. Food took forever to come out or even to find a waiter to get attention. Definitely not ideal for a restaurant geared to families who will likely have smaller children.

    19. Cheryl says:

      Another upscale Mediterranean restaurant. Yeah. Just what we need. I lived above Big Daddy’s in the Greystone for a couple years. The smell of their burgers in the afternoon was heaven. I would fight off the desire to go downstairs most days, but I have to admit that I ate a lot of burgers while I lived there. I later switched to the Mac & cheese and the Southwestern Caesar Salad. I live a few blocks south now, still on the UWS, but still make regular visits or take out. Big Daddy’s is really going to be missed.

    20. UWS Dad says:

      Lots of people on here are suggesting that the UWS needs more kid-friendly places. Literally every place on the UWS (bar one) is kid-friendly! All the restaurants accommodate families with strollers or who need high chairs. Most have special menus for kids or will modify dishes for them. Unhealthy and kid-friendly should not be used synonymously.

    21. Slappy McFinklestein says:

      This is the worst thing that has ever happened to the UWS! Seamless just lost so much business. Who else has tater tots.. or a burger with tater tots.. or tater tots swimming in chili.. I’m gonna have to move now.