Nick and Nate’s is my favorite restaurant. I enjoy different kinds of restaurants for different occasions, company, and moods; but, Nick and Nate’s is my all-around anytime favorite. In North Carolina anyway. In ’94, when Brent and I honeymooned here, we were wandering around on Main deciding where to have supper. We decided on Andretti’s, which was a very casual zero-atmosphere Eyetalian place. (Eyetalian because that is how it is pronounced up here.) Mr. Andretti himself could be seen in the open window to the kitchen throwing his truly wonderful pizza dough with a cigarette held between his lips. That’s still allowed up here. But, even if a few ashes fell into it, it did not matter. We were so hooked on Andretti’s pizza that for several years, we couldn’t wait to return to it.
One year, we went with mouths watering for Andretti’s…and it was not there! We were in shock over our disappointment, but hungry enough that we went into see what had attempted to take it’s place. The waiter welcomed us and explained that Andretti’s sold his restaurant to Nick and Nate’s which is like the one on Main in Waynesville. Well, we were unaware of any Nick and Nate’s in Waynesville; and, how could this have happened to us while were in Florida and so unaware of changes taking place up here between summers?
But, the menu was enticing and I could already see they were doing something about the atmosphere problem by hanging old junk everywhere. It’s sort of like Cracker Barrel style, but sloppier and more eclectic with some local flare. I felt unloyal to poor old Andretti who much be somewhere with just a cigarette and no pizza dough. But, despite my feelings of guilt I developed a new passion that evening for Nick and Nate’s.
They have specialty pizzas with names like The Nantahala which is a miracle with spinach, pesto, feta; which, sounds Greek but is slightly different from The Mediterranean though. There’s The Barnyard for the meat cravers and a delicious Farmhouse for veggie lovers. The wings are great. The onion rings are perfect. They serve interesting local beer. And their homemade ranch dressing makes you actually crave a salad and, then, not wanting to give up the last bit, start dipping pizza crust in it. They also have a lunch buffet: a good way to get a fix for less money and time. I wish I could work there; the waiters seem to be so happy to see you and proud of what they bring to your table. (Plus, the Waynesville location has this really cute waiter who looks kin to The Rock.)
We’ve enjoyed both locations depending on where other activities take us for the day and have shared it with lots of family and friends who generally agree with our enthusiasm. (Uncle Fred did not like the pasta and they did not give free bread with it; so, don’t order spaghetti.) One of the most romantic things Brent has ever given me is a Nick and Nate’s shirt from one of our Thanksgiving Sylva trips. Once, after driving north all day from home, at a gas station just before getting to the house to unload, Curtis said, “Let’s don’t unpack. Let’s just go straight to Nick and Nate’s.” He’d been craving it all day and just couldn’t wait anymore. He did not have to ask twice; but, once again, were stricken that our place on Main was closed! So, in desperation the next day we drove the short distance to Waynesville. A waiter filled us in on the demise of the Sylva restaurant. It seems that there was a disagreement between the landlord and restaurant owner that required a fight..a real one in the street and calling the police…that caused them to close and rebuild a new one near the hospital. I am really looking forward to it and have been for two summers already. They are supposed to open on August 15th. I’ll miss the old one which is now replaced by an Ironstone Grill Steakhouse that was ok, but just did not do it for me.