Nick's Beef and Beer House


1971 – 1998


1688 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard/Porter Square


Melting-pot American comfort food



The fact that it was more identifiably called "Nick's eef and eer Ho", or "Nick's Bee and Beer Hose", depending on which letters were missing from its sign, kind of says it all. Nick's had a loyal following, despite (or because of) its unabashed, artery-clogging fare, grandmotherly waitresses in age-inappropriate clothing, beer in plastic cups, and glowing, multicolored fake fireplace logs adorning the walls. It was painted with black and red stripes, seating was family-style, at long tables or time-worn booths, and sported an open kitchen. Manager Ted Poulos, a Greek immigrant, said he wanted the Harvard Square area to have an "American" restaurant, when he felt there was a void. Nick's developed its devoted clientele, especially popular among students, until 1996, when Poulos decided it was time for a menu change, and an embracing of a more health-conscious way of eating. Though the double cheeseburgers and stuffed turkey with cranberry remained, more salads and vegetable dishes appeared, as well as a generic name change, precipitating many-a-grumble. Speculation on why exactly it had to go is unnecessary; the glory and endearing shabby chic that was Nick's lives on in the memory of baby boomer and gen-x Cantabridgians forevermore.

Photos courtesy of the Cambridge Historical Commission