76-year-old local favorite looks to future


Tasiyagnunpa Livermont

This semester seemingly all Brookings’ eateries are getting facelifts, even Nick’s Hamburger Shop.

“People say it’s nostalgia that keeps this place going,” said Dick Fergen, owner of Nick’s Hamburger Shop. “Well Nick changed it, and it kept going, got bigger.”

And that never hurt business. Almost every alumni of SDSU has a Nick’s Hamburger Shop story. Many go out of their way for the mouth-watering tank-fried ball of burger.

Fergen can relate. Owner of Nick’s since 2004, the charming Brookings High School graduate and former SDSU student looked to make his fortune elsewhere before returning to Brookings, he said.

Wearing his newly minted Nick’s shirt in Hobo colors of blue and yellow, Fergen said of his new expansion, “I’ll only gain eight stools.”

More practically, the 1931 building needs some tender care.

“This has to be completely renovated,” Fergen said. “See, there is no insulation in this building?all it was was bare block with plaster on it. No insulation. Tim, my brother, is doing most of the work. He’s going to have to re-support everything.”

Gesturing at his blueprints, Fergen points to the new customer bathrooms and how the counter will wrap around the frying vats.

Other features include a hand-out window, Fergen said, and an ambitious plan for a drive-thru running through Fergen’s adjoining property to the south.

Fergen said the renovation makes use of a section of the original building that has been rented out to various Brookings’ businesses, lastly a barbershop.

Walking around the outside of the building, a citizen riding past on a bicycle hollers a friendly “good morning,” which Fergen replies to as he discusses how he will keep on cooking burgers outside as the weather permits during renovation. Fergen then switches gears, pointing out the signature stucco-siding, which needs to be redone on the south side of the building and “rounding” of the outside features to make the building match it’s other half.

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