Tag Archives: Sausage

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

Station 49 Pizza – Restaurant Review

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

For my next tasting experience, I head over to Vero’s newest, and the only wood-fired pizza place that I’m aware of in town called Station 49.  Located in what was once known as Garage Pizza, Station 49 has only been open for a few months.  I’ve been hearing wonderful things from our foodie group about it, so I could not wait to check them out for myself.

Located in the 1800 block of Old Dixie Hwy, they are not that far off the beaten path of downtown shops and restaurants.  Owners, Jay and Joan McLaughlin have been dreaming about owning a pizza place of their own for a while now.  When Jay’s longtime Executive Chef Dino from Island Restaurant in New York was looking to move to a beach town in Florida, they jumped at the opportunity to try this new concept with him.   If the McLaughlin name sounds familiar, they also own a clothing store and Citron Bistro located a short distance north of Vero on A1A.  Parking was better than expected for a small place like this and the lot was not too full even though the restaurant was.  From what I remember about Garage Pizza, the interior has been greatly improved and is contemporary, yet with a few modern touches.  The space was very comfortable and they have a few different seating options depending on your preferences.  Sitting at the bar is always an excellent choice if you like to watch an active kitchen and see your food being made in front of your eyes.

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

Arancini – ($9.00) – While they might have a strange name, and even if you cannot pronounce them, just point to it on the menu and order them, because they are delicious!  They start with a cube of mozzarella cheese in the middle, then wrap it with risotto rice, then it’s coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried till golden brown.  San Marzano tomato dipping sauce was served alongside.  They are a little larger than a golf ball and have this wonderful crunchy and cheesy flavor.  The dipping sauce was light, flavorful, and a little bit sweet.

Chopped Kale – ($12.00) – Kale is not usually a favorite for most people (including me), but what Chef Dino does with this one might be just short of a miracle.  The kale is chopped finely and tossed with strawberries, avocado, toasted almonds, quinoa, shaved pecorino cheese, and dressed with a citrus-poppy vinaigrette dressing.  Kale can tend to be bitter, but I did not detect any bitterness in this salad at all.  It was light, fresh and quite delicious.

Cavatelli Sausage + Broccoli – ($16.00) – Such simple ingredients, yet they work so well together.  Cavatelli pasta was mixed with chunks of sausage, broccoli, then tossed in a garlic white wine sauce.  The pasta was cooked al dente, the sausage was bold and flavorful, and the white wine sauce had the perfect balance of flavor to bring this dish together.  Most of my regular readers know I’m not a fan of broccoli, but it only added a subtle flavor and texture to the dish, so I was able to still enjoy it even though I’m not a fan.

The Works – ($16.00) – FINALLY, a pizza place in Vero that uses crumbled sausage!  As someone who has lived in the mid-west for most of my life, I’ve never seen so much “sliced” sausage on a pizza until I moved south.  It’s very hard to find a place that uses crumbled sausage, so I was thrilled to see they do.  Hand-tossed to approximately 11”, their pizza has a very thin crust which allows it to cook within minutes. This one has crispy pepperoni, sweet sausage, Grande mozzarella cheese, and San Marzano tomato sauce.  The crust was light and crispy, the sausage was wonderful, and it had just the right amount of smoke flavor from the wood-fired oven.  I can’t wait to go back and have another one!

Donut Holes – ($6.00) –  We wrap up our tasting experience with a little bit of dessert.   After the fantastic food we were just served, these were a bit of a letdown for me.  Appearance wise they looked to be over-fried but inside the cake was light and fluffy.  They were served with chocolate and caramel sauces but the dusting of powdered sugar was the perfect amount of sweetness for me.  They were good, don’t get me wrong, they just lacked the wow factor I’m always looking for, especially after what we already tasted. 

In Conclusion:

Did I forget to mention that they use “crumbled” sausage on their pizza’s?  Ok, so I said it already, but I think it deserves another mention because it’s so hard to find in Vero.  Their wood-fired pizza oven is 16 years old and imparts a wonderful, yet only slightly smoky flavor to the crust from the oak and mesquite wood they use to cook with.  I especially love the healthy twists on a few of the dishes they are offering.  Getting me to eat kale and broccoli in the same meal was a feat in it of itself.  So, do I think this new place will stick around longer than the last one that occupied this space?  Absolutely, and I highly recommend you stop by and check them out sometime, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Station 49?  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.

Station 49 Website  |  Menu  |  Facebook Page

Address1802 Old Dixie Hwy, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 492-8342

Open Sunday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday’s, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm