Yo! Stef and I checked out Nick’s last night and we both really enjoyed it. I have sort of a love/hate relationship with the city of Boca Raton. We go way back. I gr aduated from FAU and met my wife there. We lived in a couple of different apartments in the city. I managed the Duffy’s on St. Andrews Blvd. on 2 seperate occasions, and I started my restaurant/hospitality career as a food runner there. Stef has worked in Boca as a hairstylist for almost as long as we have known each other.
However, for all of the history that we share, I consciously try to spend the least amount of my time as possible in Boca. I feel like there is a “tension” that enters my body as soon as I cross the city line. My blood pressure goes up. The traffic. The fancy, fancy cars. The meticulously manicured medians and trees. The finely dressed citizens. The overall hyper-hectic “New York-ness” that pervades. The shiny “faux-luxury” and newness of everything. It’s just not for me.
The one saving grace of Boca for me is the food scene. Constantly evolving, Boca is a great spot for restaurants. Because of a super demanding (and tech-savvy) clientele, if a restaurant is not on it’s “A” game at all times, the people will stop coming, and something newer and hipper will move into it’s space. For restaurant owners in South Florida, I believe that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I have a “Boca list” of places that I want to check out, and high on that list was Nick’s.
Growing up in Massachusetts, we were vaguely familiar with a land to our south called “Connecticut,” but rarely ventured there, unless passing through en route to New York City. The Boston area, in my opinion, has some of the world’s best pizza joints. There are a lot of Italian “pizza shops” with classic, greasy, NYC style slices (and hopefully Sicilian style deep dish), and there are also many Greek owned pizza places, which use a slightly different technique as the Italians, but still cook the pies in traditional pizza ovens. There are also many hybrid “roast beef/seafood/subs/pizza” houses, that serve a damn good pie as well. Only in the northeast!
New Haven, Connecticut serves it’s own version of pizza, and it has become a regional specialty. This is “char-grilled” pizza, served well done. Yes, the crust is blackened in the coal-oven at 750 degrees. Yes, it is very thin, so be careful not to overwhelm it with toppings. Simple is best here. Nick’s New Haven is a comfy spot with wide booths and a big indoor/outdoor bar. The place is open air, with outdoor seating as well, and a huge open kitchen so you can see the guys making your pizza. The walls are subway tiled, and the ceiling is covered in old advertisements. It’s a bit more cozy than a traditional “pizza joint.” There is a nice beer and wine list and the menu includes “coal fired” subs and salads as well as pizzas. Stef and I chose to build our own and picked meatball, onion, and mushroom, as well as a Panzanella salad with tomato, cucumber, red onion, capers, and lots of oil and vinegar. Special shout out goes to the meatballs, absolutely delicious. Everything was great, and absolutely huge. The place is a bargain for all of the food you get. The salad and large pizza are easily enough for 4. We took half home. Great place we really enjoyed it-