We had dinner with Nick the other night.

Well, not exactly. 

We ate at his restaurant and he happened to be there.

Then again, he is almost always there and it’s not exactly like we were the only ones in the restaurant. 

It was packed. 

But then again it is probably that way most evenings. 

And for good reason. 

Big Nick’s is the real deal. 

His place puts the soul in soul food and the South in Southern cooking. 

Now, don’t be surprised, even us health and fitness nuts have to break our obsessive-compulsive dietary rules, loosen our belts and splurge every now and then. 

Big Nick’s could easily make splurging and dietary rule breaking a more common occurrence. 

Besides Nick does have some greens and vegetables on the menu, it just so happens he also has barbecue second to none, does New Orleans seafood right and serves fried green tomatoes that weren’t made with a mix that comes in a box. 

In fact, the only box you are likely to find at Big Nick’s is the one you will need to take home your leftovers from the generous portions they serve. 

It is a great gathering place, feels more like someone’s home, and everyone seems to be in a friendly mood and enjoying the atmosphere. 

There is R&B playing in the background, the aroma of smoked meats and then there is Tina, Ray, Aretha, Michael, Jimi and Stevie both on the tunes and on the walls. 

The only thing better than the original art on the walls and the Motown in the air is the food on the table. 

Valdosta is known for many things. Sometimes you don’t know whether to call our town TitleTown, Azalea City, the City Without Limits or the Home of Doc Holliday. 

Valdosta — Home of Big Nick’s doesn’t sound half bad and there are certainly far worse things to be known for. 

A lot of places claim to have Southern cooking and authentic soul food but Big Nick’s is the closest thing you are ever going to get to grandma’s kitchen. 

At Nick’s, you feel almost like you’re at your grandma’s putting on the feed sack. 

It is no wonder that Nick is always smiling. 

He has a lot to smile about.

He has found the winning combination, friendly atmosphere, a great staff, an inviting space, accessible location and groceries that will make your tongue slap your brains out. 

Big Nick, we’ll see you again for supper real soon.

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