UPDATE: Future Still Uncertain For Upper West Side Big Nick’s; NYT Profiles History & Financial Issues

Friday, March 1st, 2013

It’s been almost two months since news broke that Big Nick’s is facing closure after 50+ years on the Upper West Side.

The landlord at 2175 Broadway (between 76th & 77th) is looking to increase the rent on the 1,000 square foot space from $40,000/month to $60,000/month.

Yesterday, the New York Times had a great feature on owner Nick Imirziades, the history of his restaurant, and a breakdown of the financial issues he faces.

You can read the full story here. Per NYT:

The place is a paean to time-warp Americana: part diner, part coffee shop, part beach shack. Its pitch-perfect combination of dishevelment (a cramped mishmash of counter and tables, walls festooned with signs of specials and a silent loop of “The Three Stooges” running in the back) and excellence (the bacon cheeseburger with American cheese is an understated classic of the genre, and the char on every burger is exemplary) has made Big Nick’s both local landmark and tourist destination. If this place were in Key West instead of on Broadway it would be in the Smithsonian by now.

Apparently the massive rent increase is due to rising real estate taxes owed by the Hotel Belleclaire, which owns the lease of Big Nick’s and the neighboring News Inc. and Bra Smyth.

Recent upgrades to the hotel have resulted in the tax jump and, according to Mr. Imirziades, “the stores have a clause in the lease to pay any percentage increase, which makes our contribution over $20,000 a month.”

It’s unclear if, or when, a resolution may be reached, although Nick is already contemplating his future if he’s forced to close his quasi-landmark Upper West Side institution:

If he cannot make a deal with his landlord, Mr. Imirziades said, he will try to move to another location. “I can do something simple in the new style,” he said stoically. “Espresso, sandwiches, wraps.” He pondered that plan a moment before brightening. “I could do hamburgers and pizza too,” he exclaimed.

The full article is definitely worth checking out — it’s not too long.

p.s. You may already know this, but the Big Nick’s Pizza Joint on W. 71st is not owned by Mr. Imirziades. Despite its name, he sold it in 1986.

H/t to MUW reader @jmagNYC

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