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Greasy Nick's

755 Pelham Road, New Rochelle, NY - (914) 636-9869
Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on July 15, 2008 11:48 PM
For a summer patio picnic, Greasy Nick's is just the ticket. A fiercely downscale New Rochelle spot, across the street from a gas station, there's nothing refined about the food or setting. This urban shoreline treat is vaguely reminiscent of a New England clam shack, but with a city grit that is far removed from anything you'll find along the coast of Maine. The usual procedure upon arriving is to enter through the screen door to select your beverage of choice from the cooler. In that cooler you'll find canned beer the likes of which you may not have encountered lately. Grab a couple cans of Piels and head outside to find yourself a table (there ARE tables inside, but we've never seen anyone using them). Someone will be by shortly to take your order.

This is a clam bar, and on occasion we've had the steamers, but we've been burned by that choice too often for us to recommend them. The plates of raw clams we've seen many customers devouring look lovely, but we've yet to try them. There are hot dogs and chicken too, and occasionally you'll even see soft shell crab on the menu. What else is there to eat? Burgers. The cheeseburger with fried onions is our choice every time. There is nothing about the burger itself (a frozen patty) that will open any eyes, but the well-cooked onions and burger juices soak into the crusty hard roll and, combined with the melting American cheese, make a fine summer lunch. On the side, we get corn. These are frozen corn cuts, even in summer corn season, served in a basket sitting in a deep pool of melted margarine (presumably). Somehow, with the onion cheeseburgers and the cheap beer, sitting under the summer sun, it all works.

Open summer only, it has long been a tradition for the local college students to trek en masse to Greasy Nick's on opening day. And what about the name? When you look for it, be aware that the official name is Leno's Clam Bar. That's what the sign says. Yet nobody, but nobody, we know has ever called it anything but Greasy Nick's. So Greasy Nick's it is.
4 star rating
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Onion Cheeseburgers

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Posted By chris palatucci on October 28, 2010 9:42 AM
Well, at least the burgers are still good.

I grew up not too far from Greasy Nicks. I worked one summer in the 70s as a locker boy at the NYAC down the street. We used to go there all the time. I made a major detour with my family to visit the famed Greasy Nick's on our way back from a long road trip. I was greatly disappointed to see what had become of it. Not physically - I couldn't really tell if anything had changed in over 30 years - but the food. When I was a kid, there was always a heaping pile of onions on the corner of the grill caramelizing away in bliss. When you got your burger, it was served with a giant helping of those uncomparable onions on it. And the onion rings were REAL onion rings. Hand battered and delicious. Now they're the same things you would get at Johnny Rocket's - the fake ones that are all the same size because they are formed out of chopped onion pieces. I could get those frozen at the Stop n Shop if I wanted to waste my money. The fries used to be a lot better as well.

And what's with having waiters?! Back in the day, you got your own order at the counter and found a table. It was an experience back then. That experience is now ordinary.

The good news is that the burger was still as I remembered it. Not that there's anything special about the burger itself, but the way it's served on those New York hard rolls with the cheese dripping off...

I'd go back if I were in the area again, I think I'd just skip the onion rings and fries.
0 star rating
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Posted By Peter Plati on September 30, 2007 4:02 PM
I've been going to Leno's Clam Bar... more affectionately known as "Greasy Nick's", since I was very young, and even more often after I got my driver's license. I used to head there with some buddies after football practice during the summer. I took my three sons there recently and nothing has changed. The raw clams are as cold, sweet and tender as ever and are still served in a tin pie plate with lemon and cocktail sauce and a large two pronged wooden fork.

The cheeseburgers with fried onions are still delicious and are required eating when going to Greasy Nick's. Shoestring french fries and sweet corn on the cob literally drenched in a puddle of butter made up the side dishes on this visit, although we were thinking of getting an order of steamers but were simply too full. My 12-year-old broke the cheeseburger tradition and ordered a hot dog... split down the middle and grilled. Crunchy and buttery. He ate every bite.

The crowd is still a mixed one. Several "executive" types dined while, at the next table, there were some bikers and, of course, familes with kids. Now my oldest son has his driver's license and advised me that he and his buddies are going to "Greasy Nick's" next weekend for burgers and onions. Some things never change.
4 star rating
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