Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Burgers and Beyond at Nic’s Place

Diner fare in elegant surroundings



 



I sincerely hope that this isn’t the first time you’ve ever heard of Nic’s Grill – it’s fairly universally acknowledged among the cognoscenti that Justin Nicholas makes the very best burger OKC has to offer, and the fact of that consensus is a feat in itself. It’s an automatic recommendation: If you haven’t squeezed your way into the tiny café on Penn, I beg you to, and soon – as soon as you’re ready to discover genuine burger bliss.
 

But, joy that it is, Nic’s Grill comes with a few drawbacks; one or two flies in the ointment. First of all, it’s tiny for reals, no more than 17 seats, so there’s not much space to stretch your legs and often a line out the door. It’s cash-only, which can be a mild inconvenience if you haven’t planned for it. Most of all, it’s only open four hours a day, and only on weekdays – so if you can’t make room for it in your lunch hour, you can’t make it at all. That’s one of the main reasons why it’s such a pleasure to visit his Midtown spinoff/sequel, the full-service lunch and dinner (and weekend breakfast) restaurant Nic’s Place.

The main surprise for those familiar with the original who haven’t seen the new space yet will be the atmosphere – I still can’t get over how nice it is in here. I got semi-regular updates on the buildout process during visits to Nic’s Grill, so I had some idea of how ambitious his plans were, and how long it was taking, and what pains Nic and his team were taking with their Midtown baby – but the finished results are still startling. The dark wood molding and trim, the deep, plush chairs, the gleaming textured leather of the booths, the thick slabs of marble that serve as family-style tabletops in the main dining room … everything feels solid and stylish, verging on opulence while still feeling perfectly comfortable. That’s an important consideration considering the menu, which prominently features immense (and not always particularly tidy) burgers such as the one that made Nic locally famous. And by the way, those two marble-topped tables surrounded by high stools seat as many people as the entire operation on Penn.

As classy as the surroundings are, the menu remains steadfastly focused on, in its words, “diner comfort food.” That naturally begins with the appetizers, and I’m delighted that we took a chance on the fried pickles; dipped in buttermilk, lightly breaded and crisped, there are no secret ingredients other than what adds up to zesty, crunchy deliciousness. Likewise, the nachos aren’t intended to surprise, just deliver immense helpings of tasty, tender chicken bites, cheese, guacamole and sour cream into your waiting face. Spoiler: They succeed.


If you do choose a burger, (a) who could blame you? (b) they come in kinds – you can get a Nic’s Original or build your own, but I recommend the gouda, onions, bacon and egg of the Jojo. If you decide to branch out, your options include a load of salty, perfectly seared shrimp, a massive, thick-cut ribeye steak or a chicken-fried steak. The latter didn’t have as much emphasis on batter as some places; it’s more floured-and-fried, which gives more of a spotlight to the meat. Plus, the cream gravy is quite good. Whatever you pick, expect ample portions of the kind of food your grandparents would have praised as sticking to your ribs. Speaking of which, the warm, gooey, cinnamon-covered peach cobbler a la mode is really excellent, though be warned that it’s more than one person can eat. After a meal like this, anyway.

Nic and Jovon aren’t trying to reinvent the culinary wheel or make their own genre of fusion food; this is a big selection of diner classics, done with affection and served in spectacular surroundings.

It might not supersede the original Nic’s in your affections – there’s definitely something to be said for the immediacy of sitting mere feet away, watching and smelling the heap of beef and onions sizzling on the flattop and counting the seconds until you can sink your teeth into it. But for those times when you have a group, are looking for an evening meal or simply want a little more variety, Nic’s Lounge takes the grill to a classy new level. 

 

The bar downstairs is, not to put too fine a point on it, a marvel: The décor echoes and adds emphasis to the leather and massive wooden ceiling beams seen upstairs, using a lower light level and lamps set into the built-in bookcases to cast small, intimate pools of illumination on each island table in a row of semicircular booths. The long, marble-topped bar seats another 16, with room for yet more patrons in conversational groups of couches and chairs nearby. It would be a good secluded spot for relaxing and chatting even if there weren’t a full suite of tempting beverages to explore, from draft cider to a hefty wine list to a pretty damn good Old Fashioned made with brandy-soaked cherries. Don’t miss giving it a look.




► Nic’s Place Diner & Lounge
 

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Madison Cunningham’s Come-Up

The young singer prepares to open an OKC show for The Punch Brothers

Touring Fort Smith

From the historic courtroom of Judge Isaac Parker to the new Park at West End, Elaine Warner finds plenty of highlights in Arkansas’ second-largest city.

The Palazzolo Palazzo

Designer Lindsay Palazzolo combines neutral shades, multiple textures and a sense of airiness throughout the entirety of her remodeled Nichols Hills palace.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2018

No Events
No Events
No Events
No Events

More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags