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'Consistency' : years and years of consistency is the true secret ingredient behind Uncle Nick’s immense popularity amongst its customers. This trend of uniformity lies in the midst of a loyal customer base that has been going to Uncle Nick’s for more than 20 years. But what that stems from is the family-owned nature of the restaurant. Several staff members and chefs have been working at Uncle Nick’s since the very beginning, making certain that the food is still exactly the same as it was in the 1990s.
The owner and founder, Antonios Manatakis, started Uncle Nick’s and the restaurant is actually named after his father. He started it for the same reason people go there today - to enjoy fresh, home-cooked food in a relaxed, laid-back taverna whilst taking in and indulging in every aspect of the experience. His love for food and his desire to bring his friends to a place to eat, lead to the birth of Uncle Nick’s. By no means did Manatakis want an up-scale type of environment, as he desired to keep it as authentic as possible, as ‘Greek’ as he was used to experiencing in his youth.
Uncle Nick’s is nothing short of an old school, rustic Greek taverna. It is exactly the type of place you want to go to if you’re in the mood for a vibrant, vivacious evening. The homey vibe comes from an array of dark wood, namely the antique-like barrels used as the base and stand for the bar. The bar is brightly lit as opposed to the rather low-key lighting throughout the rest of the restaurant. Laid-back and casual, one truly gets the relaxed island feel in the midst of the little rusty copper mugs dangling above the bar.
It’s hard to come by restaurants that so strictly stay within the boundaries of traditional Greek food. But at Uncle Nick’s their objective is to remain authentic. To them, Manatakis’s vision was and still is their means of success and being faithful to that vision, for the last two decades has got them to where they are today.
Picking out just 2-3 specialty dishes at Uncle Nick’s is virtually impossible. Everything on the menu is authentic and guaranteed to intrigue the pallet of any first timer customer. A lot of the items are like nothing you’ve ever tried before. While ordering appetizers be sure to get the Saganaki Tiri, or the flaming cheese. In addition to the thrill you get from watching the massive flame, it also tastes quite phenomenal. Cheesy and warm, the glutinous Saganaki melts divinely on the tongue. The tempura-like crust provides a crispy kick that goes perfectly with the warm melted cheese.
For the fish lovers out there the Tsipoura is heavenly delicate, mild and grilled to perfection with a hint of lime. It is seared in a buttery sauce and enriched in authentic herbs. The lamp chops at Uncle Nick’s are some of the finest in the entire city, skewered with fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers. The meat is tender, juicy and the zest of the spices remains consistent with every bite.