The other night we went out for a night on the town for my darling wife’s birthday.
The hour long wait to get into the hot spot was averted by the option to sit at the bar and have a full menu anyway, so booth become barstool night. Hostess happily helped us find our way, cheery, helpful, engaging, young and fun.
Quickly welcomed and asked what we want to drink by a fully engaged waiter who leaned over the bar, looking right at us, slight smile, said knowingly, “This seems like a special occasion – what is it?” We affirmed it was her birthday, to which he made sure we knew we were a very important couple in his restaurant.
He was so thoughtful I figured he must be the manager or extremely young owner. Nope. Just the most welcoming bartender on the planet. However, he acts like he has ownership in this place, as in over-the-top kindness, attentiveness, and making us feel special. Wow.
As I surveyed my silverware I noticed the ever-present fork with a skiwompus prong and began fidgeting with it, to see if I could pry it straight….suddenly appeared a new fork by a server, not our waiter, smiling with the dinglehopper and that look on her face like a seagull in the Little Mermaid handing me a better option. Hmmm. Surprising, I thought, who notices that kind of thing as they’re walking by when they’re not even assigned to our section? Impressive.
Now the food is served, beautiful presentation, avocados sliced in a fanfare of beauty and precision, not your usual cut. Poke tuna and a delectable taste to start off our night, as the food became increasingly delicious and memorable. Chef and Team care not just for flavor but for making this a very memorable meal. I like this place. Why haven’t we been here before?
The only thing better than the food was the service, the joy and looseness we could feel from the pleasant staff and team. Their fun spirit and attitude made us feel happier, the complete opposite of nearly every “the bar is the only seat left” kind of place I’ve ever eaten. This was like the Golden State Warriors basketball team who played with a sense of purpose and yet complete confidence in 2016 when they set an NBA record for wins. I knew we were watching the same kind of teamwork in this place.
For dessert they recommended the Warm Butter Cake, apparently the Signature Dish at the establishment, and as you can imagine, it was as good as it sounds. It reminded me of the cake my Mom used to make me for my birthday. We literally felt right at home here.
Rarely have I watched a group of people as servers, bartenders, busboys, hostesses, more trusting of one another, making sure to pick up slack where it might have been, anticipating the next opportunity to make someone’s day, smiles on their faces with a knowing certainty that they were doing an incredible job. It was like we were surrounded by owners of the company willing to do whatever it would take to make us feel important.
Like the TV Show “Cheers” where everyone knows your name, this is the Signature Move of Nick’s in San Clemente, CA: Keeping the Promise of a relaxed, comfortable environment, while delivering the highest of excellence in food quality.
Every Team member mattered. Every gift they could share, be it a smile, thoughtfulness, kindness, perception, care, happiness, confidence….they all used theirs in perfect unison. Each Signature Move of each member of Nick’s Family had their place, accepted it, owned it, trusted one another, it flowed like Warm Butter (Cake).
Even though it was our first time there, it won’t be our last. If they told me it was a 2 hour wait, I would sit there and wait.
Nick’s Restaurants MISSION STATEMENT
Our mission is to operate restaurants in a spirit of excellence. We are committed to being among the best in the industry, operating friendly, relaxed, comfortable restaurants for all guests. We will serve great food and maintain high standards along with reasonable prices.
~ jason hewlett
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