Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Local is Local at Nick's Nest?

Plain dog with mustard, local server.

Nick's Nest, Holyoke MA
May 1, 2018


"Nick, where do you get your dogs?"  I ask. 
A fair question, I think. He just gives me a look. I don't tell him one ccan get local dogs at a farm in Hardwick. But you have to be a member to buy them. 
"Nick, what about the buns, local?" 
He gives me the look. They could be make with local grain grown in Hadley or even Northfield, local wheat nothing to sneeze at, just mix it up with some white to, you know, make it more like the usual bun. 
Again, Nick gives me a look, the look that says, "You're not worth the $3.50 I could have made in the last sixty seconds. 
"Right, but Nick, can you where the onions are from?"
"You orderin?" he says, his patience, clearly tried at this point. 
 "Sure, I'll take a plain dog," I say.
"Chowder?" he inquires.
"No, just the dog," I say. How ridiculous, chowder, but I am silent on the point.
Nicks Nest has been a fixture on Route 5 since 1921. The dogs are famous and anyone can stop in and see them on display on rollers in oil. Delicious with a nice snap to the casing.
I share with Nick that I like my dog with raw onions and ask, because how hard it it to have local onions from Hatfield or Hadley, where you can purchase for cheap at the end of the season? 
But I curtail my comment to, 
"Nick, I mean the soil here in the Valley is the absolute best...can you tell me if the onions are local?"
"I'm not Nick," he says. 
And before i can say anything he goes, "Nick is dead." 
"Ah yes, of course, since 1921, but I wonder if you can tell me where the oil comes from?" I ask. 
"The distributor," he says.
"Right," of course it does, perhaps the same distributor from the 20's and no doubt not local oil but that would be...
Nick hands me the dog wrapped in a plain white napkin. I give him the money and then go to sit down. But before I do,  I turn to him, the guy who isn't Nick, and say, "hey, did you know the upstairs is haunted?"
"Yeah, we know," says the guy. 
 It must be mentioned that the ghosts upstairs are local, plus perhaps the servers. Which is a good start.