John Gonnella and Jack Calhoun, who've owned the Nick's Roast Beef location at 15 S. Second St. in Old City for a quarter-century, just turned over the keys to bartender "Joey Dog" Schultice, an 18-year veteran. (The takeover was mentioned here.)
The bar remains in the hands of a North Catholic High alum, as all three are quick to point out.
Schultice, 48, spent a week tearing up the joint, replacing the bar, fixing the floor, and doing a heavy scrubbing.
Nick's reopened Friday, June 8 with a smaller menu and an enlarged beer system, raising his taps from 8 to 12. The 175-gallon fish tank remains behind the bar.
"We'll keep the staples, but we're going with more fresh product - healthier," Schultice said. "Fresh ground burgers. I'm going to be getting my steaks from Giordano's in the Italian Market."
Wait. Healthier used in conjuction with Nick's Roast Beef?
"Hah," Schultice replied. "We're not a gastropub." Down the line, he hopes to offer breakfast.
Also changing over is the space upstairs, as 32 Degrees shut down earlier this month (noted here).
Schultice said Calhoun and Gonnella still own the bricks. He imagines that a new operator will be interested in the space but says he has right of first refusal.
Nick's, incidentally, was founded in 1938 at 20th and Jackson Streets in South Philly, where members of the DeSipio family still own it. The family also owns locations in Springfield/Delco and at Xfinity Live. (A little family lore here and here.)
The locations in Old City and Northeast Philly (Cottman Avenue) were broken off years ago as franchises and are independently owned.