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Eef and Bee Not All Nick Serves

NEWS FOR THE WEEKEND

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Beef. It's been the meal for dinner for 25 years, but not anymore.

Nick's Beef and Beer House, 1688 Mass. Ave., has been serving students from Harvard College, Lesley College and Harvard Law School for years. Now, it's undergoing a profound change in menu and mission.

"Nick's eef & Bee Ho" will soon become Nick's American Restaurant and Bar, said manager Ted Poulos.

"We were known for beef and beer, but we're not that anymore," Poulos says, explaining he "upgraded the menu" a few weeks ago.

The former red meat stalwart now serves chicken, turkey, pork, lamb and seafood, even taking customers south of the border for burritos and quesadillas.

And for vegetarians, there's non-sentient foodstuffs including fresh vegetables, soups and a special season vegetable of the day, according to Poulos.

"I live on vegetables," Poulos says, noting that, while not a vegetarian, he usually eats two vegetable-based meals a day.

The new menu, Poulos says, is "balanced and provides options," noting that "business declined as a result of the change of taste that is sweeping the country. We tried to follow that trend."

Poulos has been a student his whole life, earning six post-graduate degrees, including a Masters of Political Science and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University.

"I'm researching and following the trends," he says, noting that Harvard Square is "the pulse of America."

While the renowned stuffed roast turkey with vegetables and cranberry still graces the menu, Harvard regulars notice the changes. And they're not all enthusiastic.

Yuri Ostrovsky '97 went to Nick's this summer and noticed a change. "I did sort of notice something different. I could feel it."

"If they change it, I'm not coming back," he says. "It's like changing a monument."

Eugene Koh '97, a Crimson editor who has eaten at the restaurant to have an "unusual dining experience," says any changes will rob Nick's of its identity.

"The place is just going to be lost in the midst of the other restaurants around campus," Koh says.

Unique it is. At first glance, it seems like a homey restaurant, complete with gas-fire logs and a grandmotherly serving staff.

But there's a catch: The logs hang on the walls, illuminated by red and blue light bulbs. And the grandmothers wear miniskirts and sequins.

There are long family-style tables arranged in neat rows and more private four-person booths. And there are wide red and black stripes painted on the walls, projecting a geometric, checkerboard atmosphere.

The kitchen's in full view at the rear of the restaurant, letting patrons watch chefs prepare their meals.

"That reflects the melting pot the way I see it," says Poulos, who left his native Greece in 1962.

A Nick's beef double cheeseburger, which is about four times the size of a McDonald's burger, runs $3.95. The roast leg of lamb and the Boston scrod buena vista are pricier, costing $8.95 and $7.95.

Poulos says his time spent studying at Columbia made him "especially sensitive to the student community." He says his philosophy is to emphasize large quantities of food at a low price.

"[Students] have to eat out two or three times a day. They have to have good food and a good quantity of food," he says.

Poulos remembers first arriving in Cambridge and looking around Harvard Square.

The newly-arrived immigrant saw many ethnic restaurants, but no purely American ones.

"Where do you go for an American restaurant? I said, 'Let's make one here in Harvard Square,'" he says. "This is an American restaurant. You see the real America here."

While alcohol sales once contributed the lion's share of profits, Poulos says he raised prices on drinks to establish a quieter dining atmosphere.

"We're working hard to improve the place and make it a good community institution," Poulos says. "Once you come here, people feel at home and happy."

And they don't walk away hungry.CrimsonGrigory TovbisNick's eef and Bee Ho e, which recently changed its name, is a popular student attraction at 1688 Mass. Ave.

Poulos says his time spent studying at Columbia made him "especially sensitive to the student community." He says his philosophy is to emphasize large quantities of food at a low price.

"[Students] have to eat out two or three times a day. They have to have good food and a good quantity of food," he says.

Poulos remembers first arriving in Cambridge and looking around Harvard Square.

The newly-arrived immigrant saw many ethnic restaurants, but no purely American ones.

"Where do you go for an American restaurant? I said, 'Let's make one here in Harvard Square,'" he says. "This is an American restaurant. You see the real America here."

While alcohol sales once contributed the lion's share of profits, Poulos says he raised prices on drinks to establish a quieter dining atmosphere.

"We're working hard to improve the place and make it a good community institution," Poulos says. "Once you come here, people feel at home and happy."

And they don't walk away hungry.CrimsonGrigory TovbisNick's eef and Bee Ho e, which recently changed its name, is a popular student attraction at 1688 Mass. Ave.

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