Danbury Destination:Nick's Restaurant
Nickâs Restaurant & Catering, âa gathering for family and friends,â has been tucked away on a Danbury side street for nearly 30 years, the last 15 under the ownership of brothers Frank and Victor DeGirlamo and their cousin Tony Gallucci, all of Newtown. Located on Starr Street, which connects Triangle Avenue and South Street (Route 53) near the new Motor Vehicle office, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and dinner on Sunday.
The 92-seat restaurant also has a pizza pickup area and catering is a significant part of the eateryâs business. Mr Gallucci notes that the owners have striven to increase their off-site business, and provide catering for events ranging from private parties and business meeting to corporate picnics and weddings. Nickâs also provides the catering for the former Ramada, now Wellesley Inn, and when soldiers of Civil Army Battalion 411 were assembled there before being deployed to Iraq last year, they were provided with three meals a day, which led to Nickâs subsequently providing meals for the local barracks as well. When all 70 members returned home in March, a large celebratory event was held for them and their family members at the War Memorial in Danbury; Nickâs donated the food. âIt was a real nice experience,â Mr Gallucci said.
The dÃ©cor and the atmosphere at Nickâs is casual and family friendly, the tables covered with burgundy cloths and glass tops. A large photo of Faeto, Italy, Mr Gallucciâs home town, graces one wall of the rear dining area. Mr Gallucciâs family came to the United States when he was 12; his cousins were born here. Many members of the staff were in place before the restaurant changed hands 15 years ago, and one server âhas been here since day one.â
As with any successful restaurant, Nickâs has its regulars who come in two or three times a week â âSometimes we know who is here by the orders that come into the kitchen,â Mr Gallucci comments â and newcomers are made to feel welcome.
Among the most popular dishes are eggplant a la Nickâs (thinly sliced, stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and spinach with a choice of brown or marina sauce), $13.50; paglia e fieno primavera (zucchini, leeks, scallions, peppers, onions and mushrooms in a light sauce), $11.95, and spinach manicotti, $9.95.
The menu is predominately Italian, but does include Nickâs âown creamy versionâ of French onion soup ($3.25), a New York cut sirloin steak ($16.95) and four offerings for children, all $6.95.
The appetizers range from $5.95 for stuffed mushrooms to $10.95 for clams and mussels Posillipo (prepared in garlic, white wine and marinara sauce), and include hot and cold choices. Dinners can choose from three soups, all $3.25, and four salads â house, $3.25; seafood $7.95.
In addition to the house specialties and daily specials, entrees fall into four categories: seafood, veal, and chicken (all $12.95â$16.95), and pasta ($7.95â$12.95).
Seafood dishes include a broiled seafood platter with sole, scallops, stuffed clams, shrimp and swordfish; calamari lugiana; and shrimp â scamp, fra diavolo, or bake stuffed. There are five veal selections and five chicken, including a breast of capon.
Diners can choose from five pastas and nine sauces, as well as pasta dishes such as ravioli, gnocchi with peso sauce, and baked ziti. Salad is included with all pasta dishes.
Nickâs also offers pizza â regular and Sicilian â calzones and grinders. All menu selections are available for takeout as well.
To end a meal, Nickâs offers a temping, a reasonably priced, dessert selection â all less than $4 â that includes rum cake, tiramisu, chocolate mousse cake, and ice cream.
Nickâs Restaurant & Catering, 4 Starr Street, Danbury; 748-2400 or www.nicksdanbury.com. Open MondayâThursday 11:30 am to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to 10:30; Sunday, 4 to 9 pm. All major credit cards accepted.