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!
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 email@example.com with your questions or comments.
Address: 1453 20th St, Vero Beach, FL 32960
Hours of Operation: Monday & Tuesday, 10am – 3pm, Wednesday – Friday, 10am – 9pm