Nick’s Spaghetti & Steak House: a family tradition for over 40 years
by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
If it’s home cookin’ and hearty portions you crave, then head to Nick’s Spaghetti & Steak House in Shacklefords.
The family-owned restaurant between Glenns and West Point has been serving up home-cooked meals for 41 years. According to Niko Mantis, his grandmother and aunt opened Nick’s Spaghetti & Steak House in Gloucester Point 42 years ago and a year later, his grandfather expanded the business to a second location in King & Queen County. Since then, customers have enjoyed heaping portions of spaghetti and lasagna, hand-cut steaks, homemade desserts and fresh seafood.
My husband and I met for a mid-week date at Nick’s a few weeks ago and I ordered my go-to favorite—the seafood kebab. Listed alongside several other specialty entrees like pepper steak and Greek Souvilaki, the seafood kebab is a hefty bowl of grilled lobster tail, three large scallops, three large shrimp, peppers, onions and tomatoes served over white rice with a side salad or soup and, of course, Nick’s famous warm French bread loaf.
Nick’s has been a favorite restaurant for many of our extended family gatherings over the years. We’ve celebrated birthdays, Easter lunches and special occasions there so I’ve enjoyed several of Nick’s entrees, including steaks, flounder and seafood platters. But I come back to the seafood kebab again and again and I’m never disappointed. The lobster is a substantial serving for the price and it’s always tender and juicy. And I always have leftovers to enjoy the next day.
Although Mantis said, “hands down, the customer favorite is hamburger steak,” my husband opted for one of Nick’s signature Italian dishes. He ordered the combination sampler of spaghetti, lasagna and veal parmigiana. Served on a large, deep dish, the combo is big enough for two. The spaghetti seems to multiply as you eat it instead of disappear. A plate of just spaghetti, offered with meat sauce, meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, with sautéed mushrooms, green peppers and onions or with “all of the above” feeds me for two or three meals.
Nick’s steak menu includes a Delmonico and lobster combo and filet mignon and stuffed shrimp entree. The restaurant also offers an array of seafood, fried or broiled, from flounder to crab cakes and scallops to lobster tail. Our waitress Shannon recommended the fried oyster appetizer, which ordered with a side salad could easily serve as a meal. The appetizer included a dozen crispy fried oysters with cocktail and tartar sauce for dipping. I’m picky about my oysters but these were the perfect size, not too big, not too small. The breading wasn’t overpowering either, just enough to add some crunch but not mask the salty taste of the oyster.
Nick’s dessert menu is also extensive and all the sweet treats are made by a local pastry chef, said Mantis. The offerings include at various times blueberry cheesecake, key lime pie, lemon meringue, coconut cream pie, carrot cake, chocolate cake and while in season, one of my favorites, pumpkin cheesecake. That’s what I chose to end my very filling meal. The cheesecake was fluffy and light, not too heavy, but rich enough to call for an accompanying cup of coffee. There was just a hint of pumpkin flavor, enough to taste but not too overpowering. It almost melted in my mouth.
During the holidays, the family-friendly restaurant offers a feast for the eyes as well as the belly. In the fall, the dining rooms and the waiting area are filled with scarecrows, witches, ghouls, goblins and ghosts. And at Christmas, between 30 and 40 decorated trees turn the restaurant into a winter wonderland. Stop in to admire the decorations, get in the holiday spirit and enjoy some home cooking with a side of Southern hospitality.