Nickel Diner

By Jesse Hall

A hamburger for a quarter? A large draft beer for two dimes? The hand-painted menu on the wall of the Nickel Diner, a cavernous, ‘40s-era spot Downtown, lists all the “bargains” of its time. And even though prices have risen a bit since the good ol’ days, you'll still find a menu of soul-satisfying faves, like Frim Fram chicken and dumplings, named for a song by jazz greats Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald and brand new to the menu. More new additions include double-stuffed artichokes and a cheesecake plate—a taste of three different cheesecakes made with cambozola, tartuffo, and parmigiano reggiano. But not everything at Nickel, which just started serving beer and wine, is retro—vegan sloppy Joe anyone?

sweet seats

A high-top near the entrance, if you want to watch the cooks turn-and-burn in the open kitchen.

chew on this

Just before opening in 2008, Chef Monica May and business partner Kristen Trattner asked the people who lived in the SRO next door to name their favorite dessert. The answer most given was "peach cobbler," so the team concocted one and priced it so cheaply the folks next door could afford to grab a piece of pie at the Nickel. (P.S. the cobbler is long off the menu, though.)


breakfast, lunch: Tues.–Sun. 8 AM–3:30 PM
dinner: Tues.–Sat. 6 PM–10:30 PM
closed Monday

price range

$8 (Smac Cheese) to $14.25 (grilled flatiron chimichurri steak)