Jim Leff mentioned Shopsin's,a nd it reminded me of an important cultural development.
I've always been a fan of places with Moby Dick-length menus. That is one of the reasons I've always been a fan of Big Nick's.
This sterling institution on 77th & Broadway has finally bit the bullet and combined the Burger Joint and Pizza Joint Menus. The takeout menu is now 28 pages! Even has an index at the back.
Nick lives in terror that someone might come in and want something that isn't on his menu. The menu reflects tis. For example, I'm looking at the dessert page (not including fruits, which are listed on a different page). Even most offer tutti frutti ice cream - Nick does. What else? Besides the obvious suspects, how about sugarfree jello? Or sugarfree and nofat apple pie made in house? Or homemade, unsweetned, house-made yogurt with a choice of 8 or so toppings?
Or cannolis? Boston cream pie? Tofutti? Sorbet? Pasta Flora Fruit pie tart?
Nick has just added "Pancho Villa Dinners." Quesadillas, Fajitas, Burrito-Chimichanga platters.
Homemade chicken pot pies. Turkey meat loaf florentine. Shepherd's pie gratinee. Swordfish. A filet of sole melt (on a hard roll). Beef ribs
And of course, pages and pages of hamburger, pizza, Italian, sandwich and breakfast choices. A whole page of steaks (I've only seen one person ever order a steak).
Of course, there are many items available only by consulting the signs on the walls. But if you want anything not on the menu, just ask. It will be on the menu next time you're there.