Mamma Mia! Authentic Italian Food in Austin??
BREAD!!! Good, now I have your attention. Calling all foodies! There’s a brand-new Italian cafe and bar in Austin. It’s time to check out Uncle Nicky's Italian Specialties.
By Kimberly Webb
Photography by Karla Bruciaga
Uncle Nicky’s is an authentic, local Italian Cafe offering a mix of authentic Northern Italian food and Italian-American (Northeastern) food, including sandwiches and pastries. We all know there isn’t NEARLY enough Italian food in Austin, especially around campus. Not only is this place affordable enough for my broke college student a**, but they’re open 7:00 am to midnight!!! Uh, yeah. Catch me there at 11:00 pm on Sunday nights eating away my sad feelings while I finish studying all the things I’ve procrastinated. Seriously, the small cafe is cozy, casual and cute as a button.
Uncle Nicky’s is a collaboration between Italian restaurant Juniper, Detroit-style pizzeria Via 313, and neighborhood bar Nickel City. We spoke to Nick, one of the chefs at the new spot, who has been cooking Italian food for over twelve years. It’s clearly his passion, so we wanted to know why he became a chef. “It was an accident,” he answered, laughing. “I’m not a ‘foodie’. I eat Ramen noodles all the time, and I love Whataburger,” (I felt that on a spiritual level). But, Nick “fell in love with the opportunity to provide people with good food and good experiences,” and he really appreciated the comradery he felt during culinary school and has continued to feel as he works with other chefs. Nick is staying true to his Italian roots and feels like he has an obligation as a chef to teach Texans about authentic Italian food (lol, yeehaw). Nick also mentioned that he wants Uncle Nicky’s to feel like he’s hosting a house party, and that’s honestly how it felt— the atmosphere of the cafe really makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, like you’re at someone’s house to hang out with some friends.
In my visit, I sampled a few dishes and their gelato...YUM. The amazing customer service experience coupled with delicious, simple food is a recipe for a happy human. And for my meal-preference and/or allergy peeps- the menu has special markings for vegan and gluten free options, and the sorbet is dairy-free (and delectable). Designed to look like a campari bar (60s era), the bar menu offers cocktails that all look amazing, and they’re all classic Italian drinks (a few with a twist). The wines are Italian, too (duh).
So, what are you doing still reading this? Get up and head to Uncle Nicky’s for simple, good authentic Italian food. You know you want to.