The TallyCast

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Searching for Tallahassee’s Oldest Restaurant

Nick's Cafe at the same location in 2011. Photo by Dave Brightbill

A few nights ago, a friend brought up the topic of restaurants and wondered which Tallahassee eatery has been in business the longest. Compared to some folk, I’m a relative newcomer to North Florida. I got here in the early 1970’s when The F&T Diner was serving Greek deliciousness on Monroe Street, Tucker’s was dishing up all the fried chicken you could eat and Bradford’s Shell Station were shucking and serving oysters with a interesting pricing model. Each dozen sliders cost a few cents less than the one before and yes, it was a gas station. The oyster bar was in a converted service bay.

Sadly, all three of those venerable institutions are long gone.  What’s the longest standing restaurant in Tallahassee?  My guess is Nick’s Restaurant (formerly Nick’s Cafe).  Nick’s has been around since at least 1957 when the photo at the bottom of the page was taken, and I suspect quite a bit longer.

Nick’s may be the last Greek diner left in Tallahassee; a city which once sported several.

In an essay (A Downtown with Greek Roots), Julie Strauss Bettinger called out the gone but not forgotten Greek diners in Tallahassee.  Among them:

  • The Busy Bee Diner
  • Angelos
  • The Seven Seas
  • The Spartan
  • Opelika Café
  • The F&T

Nick's Cafe in 1957. Photo by Harry Slade from the Florida State Archive.

While there are still a few hints of it’s Greek heritage, today Nick’s is a meat and two veg kind of place, attracting a good mix of state and other working folk.
So what do you think?  Is Nick’s the oldest restaurant in Tallahassee?

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Nick’s Restaurant
1431 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL  32301

(850) 222-0371

Nick’s Restaurant Facebook Page

Julie Strauss Bettinger’s essay on Greek diners in Tallahassee.

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4 Comments

  1. F&T had the world’s best Greek salad.

  2. Nick’s might be the oldest standing restaurant, but don’t forget to mention George Koikos of Georgio’s. He opened a restaurant (Spartan’s) inside Duval Hotel in 1969 and he opened more after that: Brothers 3, Brothers 3 by the Sea (in Panacea), Country Inn BBQ, the Surf & Turf, and Torreya Grill.

    Of course, Georgio’s is still serving today and George himself runs it.

  3. I believe Nick’s is the oldest and Mom and Dad’s is second oldest. I remember eating at Mom and Dad’s while in high school and that was ’63-’66.

  4. Had my first piece of lemon meringue pie about 48 yrs ago. Best ever and I’m still hooked.

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