At Niko Bar and Grill in West Bridgewater, it’s quite a family affair. You’ll find owner Peter Badavas, Peter’s father Steve, Peter’s Uncle John, and Peter’s lifelong friend David. The place is even named for Peter’s son, Niko. It’s a spot that makes you feel at home the second you walk through the door.
“I treat this as an extension of my home,” Peter said. “If you see me walk around for one evening, you’ll see me hugging, kissing, laughing, joking with customers.”
As a long time employee of the Brockton restaurant institution Christo’s, Peter learned hospitality from the best, including his dad Steve, a lifer in the industry.
“My dad is the governor as I like to refer to him,” Peter explained. “He works the room only like a seasoned veteran knows how to. He’s real. It’s not fake.”
While his father takes care of the front, Peter asked his old friend David Casey to put together a menu lined with authentic Greek specialties with some modern touches.
“This is where all the magic happens,” David said from the kitchen. “You’ve got pans flying, and everybody having a good time; working together as a team. Doing what we do best as chefs and just putting all of our ideas and all of our creativity together to make this restaurant function.”
There are traditional meze platters with all of your Greek favorites, like stuffed grape leaves, spinach pie, and loukaniko sausage; to some modern day dishes, like a burger piled high with feta and cucumbers. There’s a flight of Greek inspired tacos and even Greek style nachos served with something called ‘Pico de Greeko’.
“Pico de Greeko is our greek version of pico de gallo,” Peter explained.
“I throw fresh mint in there. I throw fresh oregano. I also throw imported crumbled feta cheese in there as well, to kind of give it that Greek influence and flavor,” David continued.
For something that will perk up your nose before you palate, order the Greek Style Baked Lamb. The super flavorful pile of meat is braised for 3 hours so it’s ultra-tender when it hits your tastebuds.
“People have said they smell it walking by. What smells so good? What smells so good?’ It’s always lamb,” Peter said.
A lamb dish that’s more of a feast for the eyes is Niko’s Bone-In Lamb Shank. The colossal cut is fork tender and served on a bed of orzo in a light tomato broth.
“So the bone-in lamb shank is quite a site,” said Peter. This is a big daddy. The bone in is a pound and a half of meat.”
“When one of the servers brings it out, it kind of turns everybody’s heads,” added David. “I’ve had people say that it’s huge. They can’t finish it.”
Lamb has also made its way into the meatballs in a dish called Macoronatha.
“The macoranatha consists of our house made lamb meatballs which are very tender and moist, have a crispness to the outside because we fry them to order, and the pasta is very simple. It’s a butter, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper mixture that we toss to each order and it’s simple. It’s like heaven on a bowl,” described David.
Since Peter’s uncle John is also an industry veteran, owning pizza shops for over 40 years, he’s become part of the team as well.
“I lured Uncle John out of retirement. Took the seasoned pizza pans, the seasoned pizza ovens and most importantly the seasoned veteran, and put him back to work.”
Whether you order something simple like pepperoni, or something special like the Garden Greek pizza, you can taste the skill in each and every bite.
“Uncle John has a very distinct recipe on how to make his pizza dough. The blend of the cheese is unique and different and so is the sauce. You want the sauce to be sweet, but not too sweet,” explained Peter. “The way Uncle John has created the pizza – it’s in my estimation second to none.”
The hits keep coming right through dessert, with classics like Grape Nut Pudding and a Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet that’s baked to order, so it’s perfect every time.
“It’s as fresh a cookie as you’re possibly going to have in a restaurant; a little whipped, a side of ice cream. Hot, gooey mess. Delicious,” Peter declared.
While the grind of the restaurant industry isn’t always glamorous, for these guys, there’s no place they’d rather be.
“I do this because I love people. I tried the 9 to 5. I tried office jobs,” said Peter. “I would rather work 9 o’clock in the morning to one o’ clock in the evening every night doing what I love, and being around people, rather than going through that.”
“I thrive on the fact that the restaurant is filled for a reason,” said David. “There’s people in here eating great quality food that’s made from scratch, and this is why I come to work every day.”
You’ll find Niko at 275 North Main Street in West Bridgewater, and online at nikobarandgrill.net.
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