April 23, 2010

Nicky's of Centerport

Nicky's of Centerport
"Where Everyone's A Regular"
6 Little Neck Road
Centerport, NY 11721

Sometimes a place completely takes you by surprise. I have lived in Centerport for about a year and a half now and I have driven by Nicky's everyday. It is in a little, unassuming shopping center just off Northern Boulevard and nothing about the outside of it says "come on in for wings." Don't get me wrong, the parking lot is ALWAYS packed and I just assumed that the price point was good and the food was good enough to get the local Centerport faithful to come in and eat. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I walked through the door. Please indluge me here while I go on a bit about this place. If you are looking only for the wing review, please skip the next six (6) paragraphs.

To call this place local is to completely underestimate what "local" means. When I walked in, I felt like a tourist, I may as well have been wearing a Goofy t-shirt and Mickey Mouse Ears because everyone seemed to have their place in the bar. I would not have been surprised if they told me that there was assigned seating. They all knew the bartender (Sandy) and she knew all of them. They all knew the waitress, they all knew each other and here I was, a foriegner, crossing their border into a country I did not have a Visa to enter. One patron even brought a board game to play at the bar. Nicky's did not give me a bad feeling, but walking in alone, it was a bit uneasy.

I pulled up a seat at the bar, hoping I did not take someone's assigned seat, and was greeted quickly and kindly by Sandy. I ordered a beer and a menu. As I looked over the menu, a young couple sat down in the two empty seats next to me and they were regulars. Sandy guessed exactly what he was going to order. I ordered my wings and a side of jalapeno poppers. When the wings arrived, I took out my phone and took a picture of the wings (you can see our pictures of most of the places we review on our facebook page). As I took the picture, the couple inquired as to why I was taking a picture of my dinner. I explained to them about the blog and we chatted for a while about wings and the local area.

The young couple told me about Off Broadway, a place in Greenlawn, NY (just south of Centerport), that has a wing night on Wednesdays. They don't have a kitchen, but Lisa's Buffalo Grille (which is right across the street) supplies the wings. They are owned by the same person, according to the husband. They were also very interested in what I thought about Nicky's wings, since Nicky's is known locally for having the best wings. In fact their menu tells you that their wings are their most popular appetizer. The husband also ordered a plate of wings, which was exactly what Sandy had guessed he would order. Something tells me he has had them before, but that is just a guess.

Enter Kenny. An infamous local at Nicky's. He walked in and the insults started flying. Nothing offensive on this night, but from what I can gather, this was more of an off night for him. He was wearing a bright orange sweater, drank red wine and was hilarious to observe.

I heard him reffered to as "Comb-over Kenny" for reasons that would be very obvious if you were there and he did nothing but insult me from the second we spoke to each other. He seemed harmless enough to me, but he has a very wicked tounge at times. I get the sense that they humor him a lot at this place. Kenny owns a local business that claims to be "Specializing in Courtesy" and the people at the bar seem to find this hilarious. He went from calling me a "nice man" to saying that he was "done with me" back to being a "nice man" to saying that I should be kicked out of the bar for being mean to him. I was cracking up. When Sandy came over, I explained to her that Kenny wanted me to be kicked out of the bar, so she bought me a beer. Kenny's plan seemed to backfire.

I have not laughed or had this much fun with people I had never met before in my life in about a decade. By the time I left, I really understood the slogan, "Where Everybody Is A Regular," because I felt like a regular. The young couple, Kenny and Sandy did not care that they had never met me before, I just became a member of the Nicky's family. It was a very good time.

Now, for the reason this blog exists, the wing review. Nicky's offers two different buffalo wings options on their menu. You can order the Half Serving Buffalo Wings for $6.95 ot the Full Serving Buffalo Wings for $9.95. They come in Hot, Medium and Mild. The half serving is 12 wings and the full serving is 25, which makes the wings between under $.60 per wing on the half serving and $.40 per wing on the full serving. That puts their wings about average in price, if not a little below average. I ordered the half serving of Hot wings, I was not feeling 25 wings that night... I would have been hurting.

My dozen hot wings came out and I dug right in. This place is known for its wings for a reason. They were big, juicy and cooked perfectly. I see why people, who know about Nicky's, drive from all over the island to visit this place. They take the traditional hot sauce and do it as well as it can possibly be done. I really have no complaints. They were hot. My nose was running after a few wings and I was actually looking to the jalapeno poppers to soothe the burning... yes, jalapeno poppers worked to soothe the buring in my mouth. I was impressed by the wings and am really pissed that it took me this long to step into Nicky's.

Overall, I really liked Nicky's of Centerport. I suggest that if you are off the beaten path and in the Centerport area, check this place out and definitely try the wings. It is truly a diamond in the rough.

P.S.- T, C, S and yes, even you K... it was very nice meeting you all! Thanks for making me feel at home!

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