Tag Archives: Parmesan

Nick’s Family Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

My next Tasting Experience review takes me to Nick’s Family Restaurant in Downtown Vero!  This is one of those places that I like to call a local’s place.  It’s somewhat hard to find and parking is not the best, but it’s so worth seeking out.  It has the feel of a place like the TV show called Cheers, and it feels like everyone knows your name since you will most likely bump into your neighbor while you are there.  The building they occupy dates back to the 1920’s and it got its start as a jewelry store called J.C. DuBose.  Mr. DuBose also used it for the practice of optometry.  Through the years it has seen many different restaurants including Sand Bar & Package Tavern, Bobby’s Café, Pepin’s Pub, Pickles Deli Café, and lastly before becoming Nick’s it was the Palm Tree Inn.  Nick and his wife, Meggin have owned and operated Nick’s Family Restaurant for the last 16 years, the most of any previous restaurant tenant.  The word “family” in the name best describes who is working here more than the atmosphere.  Nick and his mom run the kitchen with help from his niece on busy nights, and you can find Meggin working the dining room and waiting tables.  What are they doing differently than the previous tenants did that has kept the doors open this long?  Keep reading to find out!

I’m sure most of you have passed by this place 100 times and did not even realize it was there.  As you head west on Hwy 60 there is a sign and an entrance, but no parking available.  To park and use the back entrance, turn left off of 14th Ave right before Blue Agave into the ally, and a few businesses down is where Nick’s entrance is located.  They have a few designated parking spots, but in the evening when most businesses close, there are quite a few other spots available.  The rear entrance from the ally feels like you are going into the employee entrance, but it takes you into a long hallway right into the dining room.  The dining room has a large bar that has 10 seats and on the opposite wall are tables and chairs.  They do have a few high-top tables at the front entrance if you prefer.

 

Now let’s jump right in and see what this place has to offer and what I had to eat!

Garlic Knots ½ Order – ($3.95) – I haven’t met a garlic knot that I don’t like yet, and these are no exception.  Perfectly baked till golden brown on the outside, soft and fluffy inside.  They are served with a side of house-made marinara is the perfect appetizer to start your meal.

Sausage Parmesan Sandwich – ($7.95) –  OMG that looks so good!  Made with a toasted sub bun, they use a mild Italian sausage and place it inside the bread with their marinara sauce and top it with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  The sausage was ground very fine and had the consistency of a meatball in a casing.  The marinara was the same as served with the garlic knots, and as you can see from the picture above, they don’t skimp on the cheese.  It was amazing!

Bacon Swissburger – ($8.95) – A classic cheeseburger with bacon and sautéed onions & mushrooms is always an excellent choice.  The burger was cooked to a perfect medium and was very juicy, the bacon was nice and crisp and added a subtle smokiness, and the bun was soft and very fresh.  French Fries were served alongside.

Chicken Wings (10 pc) – ($9.95) – Wings are one of my all-time favorite foods on the planet, and Nick’s multiple Award-Winning wings are some of the best that Vero has to offer.  The jumbo wings are fried then tossed in the sauce of your choice.  The wings are crispy on the outside and moist and tender inside.  With 11 different sauce options, they have something to please everyone. 

Cannoli – ($2.95) – We were getting pretty full from all the food they served us, but we still wanted something sweet to round out our meal.  The cannoli made sense due to the size, and there is always room for dessert, right?  The cannoli shell was fried till golden brown, stuffed with their house-made filling, then dusted with powdered sugar.  The super smooth filling had the perfect amount of sweetness and small chocolate chips added a slight texture to the filling.  It was really good!

In Conclusion:

I only just discovered Nick’s less than 6 months ago and I’m glad I did.  I was so impressed with their wings that we decided to do a Vero Beach Foodie wing eating contest at the end of January with their hottest sauce called Italian Pain.  It was a raving success and we plan to do another one later this year, but with a much hotter sauce.  This is a place that both my wife and I continue to suggest as a dinner option since they have items that we both like, so this place comes up often as our go-to place.  If you have not been here before, then might I suggest you give them a try and see for yourself, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Nick’s Family Restaurant?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Nick’s Family Restaurant Website  |  Nick’s Family Restaurant Facebook Page

Address1453 20th St, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 567-2311

Hours of Operation:  Monday & Tuesday, 10am – 3pm, Wednesday – Friday, 10am – 9pm

Baci Trattoria – Restaurant Review 2017

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

As one of my all-time favorite places for breakfast in Vero, I was really excited for the opportunity to review Baci again.  Last year my friend and guest blogger, Eden Collona wrote the review and I was a bit jealous because the food and experience we had was so amazing.  The items on the menu are truly unique and tend to have funky names and a story behind them.  Getting to meet the owner, Karen Scott Fulchini was another highlight of my first visit.  Her warm greeting makes you feel like you are family and dining in her own home.  If you have an opportunity to sit down and dine with Karen, I highly recommend you do.  Her stories alone are worth the time to have a meal with her.

Located in Downtown Vero just off 14th Avenue in a strip mall, Baci is in the corner between the new VB American Bar & Grill (review) and Carmine & Lucia’s (review).  Parking is somewhat limited depending on the time of day you arrive, but there is street parking if you cannot find any spots in the parking lot.  While the inside air-conditioned space is limited, they do have an outdoor patio that has lots of space.  Even in the heat of summer, its shaded and lots of fans to keep the air moving.  The inside is nicely decorated and Italian inspired.  The staff does not seem to change that often, so it’s nice getting to know them and seeing them again each time you visit.

 

Now on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

Insalata Antipasti – ($13.00) – As someone who follows a very low carb diet at home, it’s nice to see a restaurant offer this as an option for someone like me.  The antipasti platter includes shaved prosciutto, genoa salami, mortadella, fresh mozzarella, provolone, and fire roasted peppers.  Portion size was large and quite the bargain for the quality of meats and cheeses served.  Two of my favorites on the platter were the mortadella and the fresh mozzarella. They were both superb! The fire roasted peppers were soft, sweet, garlicky, and went perfectly with the taralli croutons served alongside.

Fried Polenta Fingers – ($8.00) – We got our first taste of these at the Bacon Festival and immediately fell in love with them.  While these don’t have bacon in them, they do have parmesan cheese and are wonderful!  They have a certain richness to them, and the more you eat, the better the flavor gets.  You get two sauce options, either the tomato basil gravy or the spicy Italian pesto dipping sauce.  We had the Italian pesto sauce and it was a perfect match with the polenta.

Shrimp Emanuela – ($13.00) – The polenta at Baci seems to be taking a starring role lately due to customer request.  I know because I’m one of the customers that have requested it several times in other dishes and not just in the Primavera Benedict.  This dish was the inspiration of Chef Amy and she insisted we try it even though we just had the polenta fingers.  It contains two of the same polenta cakes that they use in the benedict and are topped with garlic butter shrimp, served over a bed of fresh spinach, and garnished with shaved parmesan cheese.  Additional garlic butter sauce was served alongside.  Such simple ingredients, yet they work so well together.  It was so good!

Peasant Grits Pot – ($10.00) – If you are really hungry, then might I suggest you give this one a try?  The pot is filled about a 1/3 of the way with their wonderful creamy grits, then topped with sautéed spinach, bacon, pimento cheese, two eggs cooked to order, and chopped chives as a garnish.  I ordered my eggs sunny side up because I figured the runny yolk would further enhance this dish.  The grits were nice and creamy, the bacon was crispy, and the eggs were perfectly cooked sunny side up.  It was delicious!

Holy Cannoli Pancakes – ($10.00) – HOLY CANNOLI BATMAN!!!  This right here is why I say that Baci is different.  Where else can you find something like this on the menu in Vero?  It’s made with 2 pancakes, with the top one folded back and stuffed with cannoli filling.  It’s then topped with more filling, a strawberry then drizzled with some chocolate sauce, and dusted with powdered sugar.  The pancakes were light and fluffy and I was surprised that it was not as rich as I thought it would be with all the cannoli filling.  What does make it rich is the chocolate sauce, so they only put a little bit over the top for garnish and give you a side of it so you can add as much as you desire.

In Conclusion:

Why do I love Baci so much?  Because it’s different, and in this case, different is good.  While they do still have some classic Italian dishes on the menu, they also don’t follow the rules of what an Italian restaurant is expected to serve and have created some truly unique dishes.  While spaghetti may have had a hand in building this place, stuffing it into a gigantic meatball and covering it with Sunday gravy is what keeps people coming back time and time again.

Have you tried Baci Trattoria?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 5 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 5 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Website | Facebook Page

Address1918 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 794-4747

Open Daily from 7:00am – 3:00pm

Cap’s Pizza – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine

For my next tasting experience, I head down the street not far from home to Cap’s Pizza!  As with any restaurant review that I do, I always search Google to find some information for my articles.  This was a tough one, because I couldn’t find much information about them at all.  Aside from the usual sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Facebook, how has this place flown under the radar for so many years?  With  4+ star customer reviews, they must be doing something right.

The restaurant opened back in 1987 by John and Collete Capobianco and was originally located at the corner of 27th and Oslo Road where Cumberland Farms is now located.  John and Collete used to vacation here often and stayed with John’s parents in their summer house located in Lakewood Park.  With regular visits to the area, it began to feel like home and they decided to relocate to Vero Beach and open Cap’s Pizza!  Back in New York, before moving to Vero and opening Cap’s, John was a Pro Boxer in the light heavyweight division with a record of 21 – 5 and was ranked a Top light heavyweight in the late 1970’s.  He had to retire due to injuries sustained in a pro bout, which impacted his vision.

Located on 27th Avenue in SW Vero between Oslo and 5th St SW, Cap’s has been located on the same block (two locations) for over 30 years now.  They do have a small parking lot that can fill up quickly during lunch and dinner service so be sure to arrive early.  While the outside of the place is not much to look at, don’t let that fool you, the inside is nice with booths, tables, and a few seats at the bar to choose from.  The walls are decorated with sports memorabilia including “Cap’s Hall of Fame” wall, with information about John’s boxing career, along with a few TVs scattered throughout.

Now let’s dive right in and see what this place has to offer and what I had to eat!

Fried Mozzarella Wedges – ($7.99) – Fried mozzarella sticks are all too common these days, so it was a nice change of pace to see these wedges.  The breading was seasoned with Italian spices and was nice and crunchy!  The cheese inside was soft and stringy just like you would expect.  The house made marina sauce had a rich tomato flavor and was thick enough to stick to the wedges when dipped into it.  They were really good!

Garlic Parmesan Wings – ($12.75) – Wings are one of my all-time favorite foods and Cap’s does them justice.  When they sit them down in front of you the garlic butter sauce aroma is intoxicating!  They are fried, then tossed in a garlic butter and garnished with grated parmesan cheese.  Blu cheese dressing was served alongside.  The wings were crispy, with loads of garlic flavor, and the parmesan cheese added an additional subtle flavor.  They were great!

Small Antipasto Salad – ($9.95) – Who doesn’t love a large salad as a meal?  This one seems to have everything that you would desire in an antipasto salad.  From lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini’s, black olives, mushrooms, salami, rolled up ham, and freshly grated mozzarella cheese over the top, this is one salad that won’t leave you wanting more.  Everything was fresh and tasted great.  It was served with Cap’s house made Italian dressing.

Chicken Parmesan with a side of Pasta – ($15.00) –We are big fans of Chicken Parmesan and this one is fantastic!  Buried underneath a blanket of mozzarella cheese is a parmesan breaded chicken breast cooked to perfection surrounded by Cap’s house made marinara sauce.  The chicken was tender and flavorful, and the mozzarella was crispy along the edges and soft and gooey in the middle. Pasta with marinara sauce was served alongside.  This dish was truly amazing!

Chicken, Bacon, Spinach, and Tomato 16” Pizza – ($22.00) –  Their slogan is “Home of the Different Pizza” and this one lives up to that claim.  This is one of the newer creations that is not on the menu, so be sure to ask them to make it for you.  It was perfectly baked, the crust had a slight crunch, and the slices held up as we picked them up to take a bite.  They are known for their spinach pizza, and this one takes it to the next level with chicken, bacon, and tomato.  Everything was beyond fresh and this is one pizza that I could order over and over again.

Chocolate Caramel and Peanut Butter Heaven Cake – ($5.25) – Peanut butter, chocolate, and caramel together are always a winner, and this dessert delivers on all of those.  This is more of a peanut butter cream pie with chocolate and caramel sauce over the top than cake, but does that really matter anyway?  What I can tell you is that it was really good and the wife and I were fighting over the last few bites of it!

In Conclusion:

With no shortage of Italian restaurants in Vero, how does a place like Cap’s survive in this crowded space for over 30 years?  It’s because they make some of the best Italian dishes around and put their heart and soul into every dish they serve.  As a family run business, they also care about your experience at their restaurant and will make it right if for some reason you are not satisfied.  If you have been in Vero for a long time, then I’m sure you know about this place already, but if this article is the first time you have heard of Cap’s, then get over there and try them for yourself, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Atmosphere – 4 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 5 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Cap’s Pizza Facebook Page

Address: 725 27th Ave SW, Vero Beach, FL 32968

Hours:

Wednesday 11AM–9PM
Thursday 11AM–9PM
Friday 11AM–10PM
Saturday 11AM–9PM
Sunday 3–8PM
Monday 11AM–9PM
Tuesday 11AM–9PM