NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The popular Big Nick's Burger Joint & Pizza Joint has closed its doors, after more than five decades in business on the Upper West Side.
The 24-hour restaurant at 2175 Broadway, near West 77th Street, locked up and called it a day at 4 a.m. Monday. Big Nick's had been in business at the location since 1962.
"After 51 years, we have lost our lease after two years of difficult and torturous negotiation," Big Nick's said on its Facebook page. The restaurant said in the post its landlords had planned to increase the rent from $42,000 to $60,000 or more per month for its 1,000 square-foot space, and the rent hike was not affordable.
The restaurant said it hopes to relocate, but did not specify when or where.
"Hopefully, I will see you uptown in the near future," owner "Big" Nick Imirziades wrote.
Imirziades told the West Side Rag he was hoping for a new location between West 96th and 100th streets, but would not be sure for a couple of months to come.
The announcement of the closure had drawn nearly 300 comments of condolence on Facebook as of late Monday afternoon.
"Nick' s was one of my favorite places when I lived on the UWS. A lifesaver sometimes when getting off work in the wee small hours! Always stopped in on visits back," one Facebook user wrote. "Now, one less reason to make the trip from down south to an increasingly bland NYC. Hope you find a new place!"
"Our love from Seattle! ALWAYS the first stop in NYC. ALWAYS. We will miss you, the food, the staff, and the extensive menu," another user wrote. "I literally want to cry my eyes out. Not just a restaurant. An institution."
Big Nick's had a loyal customer base at the Broadway location, and was known in particular for its "Sumo burger" that was made with more than a pound of beef, the West Side rag recalled. The restaurant featured a diner counter and booths, and was adorned with handwritten signs advertising its specialties and an assortment of old-school neon signs on its front windows.
"Although divey with a 1970s kitsch-style interior, this classic diner oozes character, and a certain seediness from the Manhattan of the past," wrote Tracy Kaler in a West Side Rag article last year.
In celebrating its 50th anniversary a year ago, the restaurant drew lines around the block as it sold its fare at original 1962 prices – burgers for 60 cents and fries for 30, the publication reported.
Eater.com reported an employee said Big Nick's current space will become a bank, but no plans have been confirmed.
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