Food Offerings: Nichols runs the gamut, from classic bar food to salads, sandwiches, and fish, steak, chicken, and pasta entrée dishes.
Hours: Wednesday – Monday, 11 AM – 9 PM; Friday and Saturday 11 AM – 10 PM; the bar is open until 2 AM; closed Tuesdays.
Location: The 5 corners, right across from the bookstore
Phone Number: 315-824-2222
Price Range: Moderately cheap to moderately expensive
Quality of Food: Nichols is fine; nothing is really particularly good or particularly bad. In my opinion, the tastiest item on the menu is the Raider Tenders, which are essentially boneless chicken wings smothered in melted cheddar cheese and sprinkled with scallions. With hot sauce and melted cheese, though, how could you really go wrong? Though these are listed under appetizers, they would be more than sufficient as a main meal for anyone who isn’t a football player. Other menu highlights include the taco salad (crispy tortilla bowl filled with lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, black olives, chili, salsa, and sour cream with the option to add shrimp or chicken), the swinging gate sandwich (grilled chicken breast with sautéed mushrooms, scallions, havarti cheese, and honey mustard on a wheat roll), and the fresh mozzarella sandwich (fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and pesto, on grilled focaccia bread). Nichols is also the only restaurant in town to claim a salad bar, and this can also be a very satisfying lunch. However, the meals that are best at Nichols tends to be closer to the bar food variety or covered with melted cheese. Deviate too far and you could end up with an overcooked, tasteless piece of meat.
Décor: Nichols is loosely divided into two sections: the bar room, which has a few tables and booths, and then a separate dining room which contains the salad bar. Big glass windows look out onto Broad Street from both rooms (just be careful of the dreaded step after you’ve had a couple of drinks) and the bar area always has its TVs turned to sports games. Nichols has a very casual, welcoming atmosphere with jewel-toned fabric decorating the booths. Watch out for window seating in the winter, though, because it can get a bit drafty.
Service: The servers at Nichols always have a smile on their faces (I guess it’s mandatory when your work uniform consists of jeans and a t-shirt that says “we work the corner”) and are very patient with the large groups of rowdy students that frequent this restaurant, particularly during happy hour. Beware of high volume weekends such as Family Weekend, though, as waits can be more than an hour for a table and then another hour or so for food. Even when this happens, though, the servers are very accommodating and sympathetic to their hungry guests.