Two Chicks Eatin’: Cowan’s Newest Pizzeria

Nick and Mary Nickleson, owners of Nick’s Pizza & Pasta, host the ribbon cutting ceremony for their pizzeria in August 2019. Photo courtesy of the Hearld Chronicle.

By Sarah Cordell and Morgan Jennings
Contributing Writers

Have you ever wanted to try the new drink at Stirling’s but didn’t know if you would like it? What about the new menu at Blue Chair? We’ve got you covered! 

We are seniors Sarah Cordell from Guntersville, AL and Morgan Jennings from Shelbyville, TN. Between the two of us, we’ve tried every southern delicacy and know better than to compare the success of dishes to Cracker Barrel. Every week, we embark on a journey to try a new restaurant or menu item found in or around Sewanee and provide readers with our honest opinions. 

Each issue, we will provide a food review, a Clurg hack, and feature an upcoming event on campus. We are well versed in eating, across all styles of cuisine, and are constantly looking to satiate our hunger. 

The first stop on our food journey is down the plateau in Cowan. Right up the street from Fiesta Grill, the most recent addition to the plethora of eateries in the area is Nick’s Pizza & Pasta. Open Thursday- Saturday from 12:00-8:00 p.m., the new pizzeria features a pizza bar, pasta bar, and salad bar. 

When you initially walk into Nick’s you will be charmed by the small storefront and the view of the Cowan Railroad Museum. We were quickly aware of the quiet atmosphere, with very little ambient noise— if you’re looking for a quiet dinner, Nick’s takes the cake. This place was lacking in background music and you soon notice the conversations of those around you, for better or for worse. We suggest they start playing Michael Bublé or Dean Martin to evoke Italian vibes.

Although there were not many options as far as pasta went, with lasagna and penne chicken alfredo, there were varying slices of ‘za offered, from classic pepperoni and cheese to meat lover’s and supreme veggie. The pizza sported homemade marinara and a fresh basil sauce. The freshest option of all was the salad bar— complete with every topping known to man and a variety of dressings.  

We both opted for the “All-Inclusive” deal, which included an all-you-can-eat options from the three bars. As hungry as we both were, it was a pleasant surprise that the special deal only set us back $10.99 each! What a steal! Is the buffet life not for you? They also have a pizza menu including a “build your own” option. Sarah is lactose intolerant, but that did not stop her from indulging. For others unable to digest dairy, this was a cheese ridden meal requiring a grand total of 3 Lactaid®. It was well worth the risk.

One downside is that the tables do not have salt, pepper, silverware, or napkins. You can get your own from the buffet, but this may be inconvenient when ordering menu items. They also tend to stop replenishing the buffet after 6:30 p.m. in a commendable effort to reduce food waste. If you want more options, try to go earlier in the evening. Or go for their monthly “country favorites buffet,” featuring good ol’ Southern comfort foods. For more information or daily specials, Nick’s has a Facebook page.

As far as dessert went, the menu did not offer any options. However, Sweet Ellie’s, the new ice cream parlor, is conveniently located next door to Nick’s (let’s boost our small businesses)! 

This week’s Clurg hack was submitted by Maddy Hitel (C’20). She makes a dupe of the monkey toast from Stirling’s for none of the price! Toast two pieces of bread, add peanut butter (or nutella if you feel adventurous), drizzle on some honey, and top it with a sliced banana. A pro of this hack is that it can be eaten on the go! A bonus hack from Miles Martin (C20’) is a dessert bowl. Make a waffle, top it with your desired fruit, add ice cream, and drizzle it with Hershey’s chocolate sauce.

We encourage everyone to get involved in the community and learn more about the food we eat and those who produce it, whether it be volunteering to harvest lettuce at the University Farm or going out and supporting new restaurants. A great first step in this journey is to follow Sewanee Food Literacy Project on Facebook, headed up our very own Chef Caroline Thompson, to see what upcoming events they have!

 To suggest Clurg hacks or future reviews, send to suggestions and And remember, “Eatin’ speaks louder than words!