New Retro Burger Joint Now Open in Downtown Utica
If you love burgers, fries and milkshakes, you're about to have a new favorite restaurant in Downtown Utica.
Picture this: you're in the 1970's. You just got done rocking out to your favorite band at the Utica Aud. Now, you're hungry and are wondering where to go to eat.
Fast forward to 2021, a new restaurant is opening in downtown Utica and it's bringing that whole 1970's rocker vibe to 421 Broad Street, formerly where Baggs Square Cafe was located. Rick's Famous Juicy Burgers is now open.
“It feels like you’re in your grandmother’s basement,” said owner Francis Pezzolanella to the Utica OD.
The menu for Rick's Famous Juicy Burgers includes several made from scratch items, like hand-cut french fries and fresh daily ground beef. The quality of the food is meant to mirror that of Ocean Blue Restaurant and Oyster Bar while providing a new option to compete with McDonald's and Five Guys in terms of price range.
The idea, Pezzolanella said, is to offer a burger, fries and a drink — they also offer chicken and hot dogs — in the $10 to $12 price range.
Pezzolanella told the OD he looks at the restaurant industry in central New York and across the country, he sees more cars lined up outside places like Wendy’s and McDonalds than local sit-down restaurants.
“Now that doesn’t tell me that those fast food places have better food,” he said. “ … What it does tell me is that the consumer feels comfortable to get in their car and pick something up, but they don’t feel comfortable to go and sit inside those restaurants, even though they can.”
Although Rick's has a retro feel, the technology is more modern: incorporating contactless delivery, curbside pickup and an app made for ordering.
The OD says the idea of opening Rick's came to life after the opening of another Pezzolanalla restaurant was a put on the back burner due to the pandemic. Nostro, located on Genesee St, was supposed to open when indoor dining was closed this past spring.