Friday, August 13, 2010

Review: Nick's Famous Roast Beef

Forget Kelly’s. Nick’s Famous Roast Beef in Beverly has the archetypal roast beef sandwich—and with legions of fans to prove it. Facebook amply demonstrates this with an opposing fan count of Kelly’s: 3, Nick’s : 3,930. The walls of Nick’s were, until a recent remodel, covered with photographs of people all over the world holding up their “Nick’s Famous Roast Beef” bumper sticker. Now, flat-screen TVs rotate through the same photographs of enthusiastic patrons.

What accounts for their popularity? In a state filled with “Giovanni’s,” “Nick’s,” and “Omega” pizza/roast beef joints, the cult-status Nick’s Famous Roast Beef enjoys is due to their consistently superior food.

Their roast beef sandwiches come with different buns; a jr. beef arrives on a hamburger bun, the large on a sesame seed bun, and the super on the onion bun. Even if you’re not hungry, even if you’re on a diet, even if you could never eat a whole sandwich…get the super. The onion roll adds the final “zing” that completes the taste of a Nick’s sandwich. At only $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50, respectively, you truly receive the extra amount of filling in height and breadth; there is no stinting of portions here. The roast beef itself is precisely how you would desire it—tender and juicy—and the wide range of toppings listed on the hanging sign above the register allows you to customize to your heart’s content.

While a super-beef sandwich is likely enough to fill you up, no meal is complete without an order of onion rings. The delicate flour-batter is of course somewhat greasy, but not overpoweringly so, and the sweetness of their onions is present in every bite. They advertise that the fats they use are trans-fat free; an added bonus anytime you’re eating fried food! Just $3.25, their one-size box is the perfect size to split among friends or eat alone as a snack.

The inside of their restaurant is unassuming—apart from the awards on the walls and the photographs, you could be in any roast beef shop around Boston. The tables are often completely filled, with the line to order winding around them; the to-go option is often your best bet if you’re eating anywhere near meal times. Another caution: Nick’s is unfortunately cash-only. They do have an ATM on the premises, but you obviously have to pay the ATM fee. Parking can also be tricky, as they have a very small lot that shares parking spaces with two other businesses; however, if you take the commuter rail, it’s only steps away from the North Beverly stop on the Newburyport/Rockport Line.

Cheap, filling, and with a product that lives up to its reputation, Nick’s Famous Roast Beef is an institution that should be experienced by everyone living in the Boston/North Shore area.

Nick’s Famous Roast Beef
139 Dodge Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Price Range: $3.50-$8.95

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