Sunday, January 6, 2008
As my plans for the future start to heat up, my tour is slowing down. But not before a visit to my all-time favorite pizza joint.
When I moved to NYC in 1994, I barely left the upper west side. I would go to school on 85th, work at Lincoln Center and go back home on 79th street. Occasionally (only occasionally mind you) I would frequent a great bar on my block, The Dublin House. (More on my favorite bars later this month)
After hoisting back a few choice pints of the best Guinness in town, i would get a bit hungry. Almost always I would go for a late night slice of pizza. Now, there is good pizza, great pizza and even gourmet pizza that you would list with even the best high-end cuisine New York has to offer. But you know the pizza is good when you are drunk and need something in your stomach, and you still pass by 4 other pizza joint just to get that one slice that you crave above all others. This is Big Nick's pizza on Broadway and 76th.
They are a burger and pizza greasy spoon type of spot that claims to be open 23 hours a day...although I have never found that one hour they weren't. I always promised to try their other food, but never got past the smell of their one-of-a-kind tomato sauce that fills your nose as you approach the store front. It looks like regular NY style pizza, but it tastes amazing.
As I moved around NYC the last 14 years, I found other great pizza joints and almost forgot the first of the bunch. Its hard to accurately recollect taste, so any memory of food is never quite genuine. Every once in a while you need to re-spark those memories. Last week while up at the Beacon Theatre, I arrived early and took my buddy for his first slice of Big Nick's and my first in 5 years. Damn! It was better than ever.
I have been to a few dozen of the "Best slice in NYC" places over the last few months and some of them might be fancier, and maybe even better food. But Nick's will always be my favorite. And for anyone who lives up there knows, it will always be the "Best Drunken Pizza" anywhere.