Monday, August 10, 2009

Nick's Food to Go

240 MLK Jr. Dr., Atlanta, GA 30312

Kyle and I picked up dinner at Nick's on Saturday night. I say "picked up" because Nick's is strictly a takeout place, no dining room. We've actually been trying to get dinner from Nick's for a couple of months now, but have been repeatedly thwarted in our efforts. The first time we drove over there it was 8:15 on a Saturday night, and the place was deserted. The next time the restaurant was closed for the 4th of July holiday weekend. Apparently this is not unusual; I've seen a few complaints about the odd hours on several foodie websites, and one person even wrote that the owners close the place for a whole month during the summer so they can return to Greece. A whole month! (Not that I blame them - I've been to Greece and it is awesome. If I had the ability to go every year I'd close up shop too.)

Last week I decided to be proactive and call Nick's and get confirmation that the restaurant would be open for dinner on Saturday. I asked the man with the thick Greek accent if they'd be open, and he said "of course" like I was completely crazy. I asked him how long exactly they'd be open, and he said, "we stay open late on Saturdays, until 7pm." I'm not sure how many people consider 7pm to be a "late" hour on a Saturday night, but the situation is what it is.

The man on the phone was Nick, of course. He, his wife and his daughters run the restaurant, preparing great food in a very sketchy location. Nick's restaurant is at the intersection of MLK and Hill St., and the downtrodden building sits in a bumpy, gravel parking lot.

Fans of Nick's seem to agree with my cardinal rule of Atlanta restaurants, the old maxim of "Don't judge a book by its cover". Despite its exterior, the food at Nick's is very good. Kyle and I had the gyros, fries and two slices of baklava. Kyle had the grilled chicken and I had the lamb. The gyros might have been slightly better than the ones I have had a Cafe Agora, although I'm probably biased because I added mushrooms and feta cheese to the gyro at Nick's (for an extra $1). The baklava is good, but not as great as the pistachio dusted baklava at Cafe Agora. It is however, cheaper - sold at Nick's for $1.50 per slice as opposed to Cafe Agora's whopping $3.55.

Nick's offers some great options if you aren't in the mood for a gyro. The restaurant offers a daily special - on Saturday if was lasagna. They offer baked chicken marinated in lemon and herbs and served with potatoes. Another choice is spanakopita, fresh spinach baked with feta cheese and wrapped in homemade dough. If you want to go lighter, there are a few salads (Greek, chef and grilled chicken). Nick's menu also includes some Southern favorites like sweet tea, chicken fingers or chicken livers. I haven't tried any of these other dishes so I can't review them . . . yet. A return trip to Nick's is definitely part of my agenda. Assuming the restaurant is open when I get there.

Verdict: Surprisingly good Greek food at a good price.

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