Nedick's was an American chain of fast-food restaurants that originated in New York City in 1913 or the early 1920s, per differing sources, and expanded in the 1950s to Newark, New Jersey; Albany, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. Originally known for making and selling a signature orange drink, it added coffee and donuts to its simple menu, and later hot dogs with a unique mustard relish in a toasted bun. The name was formed from the last names of Robert T. Neely and Orville A. Dickinson, who founded the chain with the original stand in a hotel storefront of the Bartholdi Hotel at 23rd Street and Broadway. The chain was known for its orange and white decor and its slogan, "Good food is never expensive at Nedick's". Another slogan, evidenced by the image at right, was "Always a pleasure".
Following intense competition in the 1970s from such national chains as McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, and much criticism in 1981 for the quality of its concession at the Central Park Zoo, Nedick's ceased operations. What really caused the collapse of the chain was the switchover to all-beef hot dogs in 1970 from their signature pork and beef and spices recipe used since 1913. The new dogs were tasteless. The signature orange drink ( watered down OJ) was replaced with a harsh-flavored corn syrup drink.
Revival of brand name
In 2003, the Riese Organization, which operates a number of restaurant chains such as Dunkin' Donuts and Pizza Hut, revived the Nedick's brand, with three restaurants by that name in New York City, at Penn Station; 1286 Broadway between 33rd & 34th Street; and 416 8th Avenue, at West 31st Street. All of these locations have since closed, and Nedick's is no longer featured on Riese Restaurants webpage.
In popular culture
Nedick's was a sponsor of the New York Knicks basketball team. This gave rise to the catchphrase of the Knicks' long-time radio announcer, Marty Glickman: "Good like Nedick's", intoned after the team scored a basket. Another common phrase was, "Meet me outside Nedick’s"; as a well-known and highly visible location, it was a common place to rendezvous with people.
In On The Town, the sailors agree to meet at Nedick's in Times Square at eleven.
A popular punchline from the heyday of the chain was "I'll meet you in the Orange Room of the Hotel Nedick's."
In his 1971 album, When I Was a Kid, Bill Cosby talked about when he and his Boy Scout troop went on a hike around Fairmount Park in his hometown of Philadelphia. When the police forbade their setting up camp in the park, the troop went to Nedick's to eat their lunch (canned beans) before going home.
In the M*A*S*H Season Four episode, "Dear Peggy", Hawkeye Pierce talks about watching Klinger eat a fresh egg he won in a poker game and facetiously says that for a moment, it evoked the air of "fine dining at Nedick's in Grand Central Station."
The Nedick's neon sign can be seen in several location shot's in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.
- "Title to Nedick's Will Pass Today: Orange-Drink Chain That Took In $10,000,000 in 7 Good Years to Be Continued", The New York Times, April 13, 1934, p.16
- Jackson, Kenneth T., editor. The Encyclopedia of New York City (Yale University Press: New Haven & London, 1995): "Nedick's" (entry), by Robert Sanger Steel, p. 803
- "The Talk of the Town: The Man Behind Nedicks", The New Yorker, February 25, 1928, p. 11
- The Encyclopedia of New York City gives the location of the first stand as 27th Street and Broadway. The Bartholdi Hotel, built in 1885 and later demolished, occupied the southeast corner of 23rd Street and Broadway, according to New York's Early Skyscrapers: "1880s: Bartholdi Hotel"
- Reise Restaurants: Nedick's (official site)
- Hinckley, David. "It's Good Again Like Nedick's", Daily News, January 14, 2003
- Volk, Patricia. "New York Observed; An Old Dog Comes Home", The New York Times, January 19, 2003
- Vecsey, George. "Sports of the Times; Glickman is Back Where He Belongs", The New York Times, December 18, 1988
- Sandomir, Richard. "Marty Glickman: 1917-2001 — The Snub, the Voice, the Heart; A Precise, Animated Diction That Captivated the Listener" The New York Times obituary, January 7, 2001
- Vecsey, George. "Sports of the Times; With the Dolans Involved, Expect More Ugliness", The New York Times, July 15, 2007