Philadelphia, PA 19145
I have not been to Nick's in a long time. Far too long, I know, but there are so many new (and delicious) places to eat, I just haven't been to that neighborhood in a very long time. My mistake, for sure, and one that I will not make again.
Nick's is located in deep South Philly. It's old school. And that is what makes it so amazing. Although the prices have slightly increased since my last visit, the remarkably dingy, dark dining has not. Neither has the most incredible roast beef I may have ever tasted. Ever. Although they offer a few other items, the beef is where it's at. Hand carved to order, the au jus tastes as though it has been slowly reducing from the original slab of beef when they opened sixty years ago. That good.
I order the roast beef combo, on the outs, meaning they slice the crispy bits off of the outside and mix it with your sandwich meat. A slice of provolone makes it a combo and oh, SO good (can you tell I like this place?).
The interiors of the bun are lightly dipped in the meat gravy, and you won't believe how good it is. Rich, salty, indulgent, simple and oh so satisfying. The only condiments are banana peppers, horseradish and yellow mustard, all served table side. I made a vow to eat here more often, and I am already planning my next trip. Oh wait, I forgot to mention the gravy fries (I don't know how, they are AMAZING!).
Smothered (and I mean smothered) in shredded beef and au jus, these things are just the ticket to ensure you reach your maximum allowance of red meat in one meal. The fries themselves are just your standard, battered frozen french fries. But when coated with that delicious gravy, they transform into a comforting meal of meat and potatoes in its most delectable form. You are going to have to use a fork, which is convenient, because one of the biggest problems is fending off the people you are having dinner with before they eat all of the fries. The gravy soaked delights usually come out a few minutes after the sandwiches, so here's a little tip, eat the first half of your sandwich, take a bite of the second half, and then dig into the fries. As soon as they hit the table, drop that sandwich (it will be there waiting for you when you're ready for it again) and stake a claim to your sector of that juicy fry boat. You'll notice that when sharing an order, some people definitely end up eating more than their fair share... Don't say you never learned anything over here!
The pictures really can't do these sandwiches justice. If they look dark it's because they are. The gravy is deep and darkly hued, and the dining room is just as dark. It's the perfect place to enjoy a guilty pleasure. $7 pitchers aren't too shabby either! Below is the old school sign marking the spot. Although it says Nick's Cafe, we all know its Nick's Roast Beef.