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Mt. Washington’s Nickel Taphouse to open next week

November 15, 2013
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651_53731857267_3681814_nA couple years ago, writer Gay Talese dubbed 206 East 63rd St., a so-called cursed restaurant location in New York, the “Willie Loman of buildings.” We’re tempted to follow his lead when talking about 1604 Kelly Ave., the Mount Washington location that most recently housed Blue Sage Cafe. We waited and waited to review Blue Sage, hoping it would not close. Still, only a couple weeks after our review, it shut down (the location was previously home to the Falls, Freida’s Kitchen, and the Mount Washington Food Market).

But Robbin Haas (pictured), who will open the Nickel Taphouse there next week, says he is not superstitious. “I just thought it was a good location and it seemed to be a fairly decent deal,” Haas, who is also the chef and owner at Birroteca, said, taking a few minutes to talk to us amidst all the rushing around in preparation for next week’s soft opening.

“I’m not a grand opening kind of guy,” he said, noting that for the first few weeks he would limit the number of patrons allowed in the restaurant so as not to overwhelm the staff as they are learning. “It’s gratifying that people want to come in, but I want to make sure they get good service.”

Haas envisions the Nickel Taphouse as “a neighborhood hangout, not a special-occasion place.” Unlike Birroteca, the menu will have no Italian food, but will consist of classic American pub fare, with a focus on oysters, mussels, and burgers–plus spreads, pickles, and craft beer.

He is especially exciting about the kummelweck–or beef on weck–sandwich from his hometown of Buffalo. “When people think of Buffalo they think wings, but this is real Buffalo,” he said of the sandwich, with thin-sliced rare meat served on a caraway roll with spicy horseradish.

“We will not have wings,” he said of that other dish associated with his hometown.