Nicky D's: Last slice of Americana pie?
by Steve Ashley
While giving friends directions to our home one weekend we apologized for limited turn-around on 1187 and began the tedious task of trying to find landmarks for them to look for.
I quickly remembered one of Crowley’s staples in the form of Nicky D’s where they could make the U-turn. I concluded with, “You can’t miss it.”
Well miss it they did and about a half hour later they called in defeat of reaching their destination.
My friend immediately reminded me of my statement and then added, “We looked everywhere for Micky-D’s and just cant find those ‘golden arches.”
We laughed as I explained it was NICKY D’s instead of the other guys and soon they were at our door with a determination to go check out this hamburger haven they had missed.
The minute you walk into Nicky D’s the aroma of ‘fresh cooked’ immediately fills your nose and you find your taste buds begin to perk up.
One thing that strikes you about Nicky D’s is the feeling you’ve just crashed some sort of family gathering when you walk in. But in short order you’ll soon feel like one of the locals and they’ll be calling you by your first name — it may be with your meal lifted up on one hand but you get the picture.
The Crowley Star’s weekly columnist Troy Brewer - (aka The Brewer) - makes it a point to bring visiting Pastors and Ministers to Nicky D’s but especially enjoys bringing foreign Missionaries looking for a taste of “real” American food.
The Brewer adds, “Americana is a big deal to me. I’m not just an American, I’m a Texan — which is kind of like an American on steroids. So, when people visit me from all over the world, I want to take them to places that are uniquely Tex-Americana.”
It seems that from the part-time employee to the regular patron, everybody comes in with expectations of having a good time. It’s much like flying Southwest — you just know your trip ain’t gonna be boring.
The staff at Nicky D’s is just as unique as the hamburgers they serve — starting with the owners, Nick and Tammy Danelski who have operated at this location since 2003.
You can find out a lot about a person by their décor and one look at the inside of this diner tells you about the Danelski’s love for music, family, friends, hot-rods, community and each other. Would someone please grab me a hankie?
A sense of family is the common thread linking all staff members.
About four years ago the ‘family’ expanded to include the now shift manager Brenda Marshall who started on Nick and Tammy’s wedding anniversary. Brenda likes to remind of them of this and says she was their ‘gift.’ Brenda really is a treasure and lively enough to keep the crew in the back and those who grace her register in front smiling and comin’ back for more.
Jason Painter who most refer to simply as, The Burger Guy has graced the grill as a cook for almost a year and a half.
He gets a thrill when he sees someone walk out with a satisfied smile because he knows he had a hand in making their day a little better.
Then there’s The Bell, which Tammy picked up on a whim but locals have adopted it as their own. All it takes to get the bell a ringing is to put a little greenback into a tip jar on the counter and the festivities begin. A sorta “Whoop, whoop” sounds out from the back followed by an echo of the same from the crowd out front.
Another ‘favorite’ theme the staff shared was the antics and inter-action between the staff and patrons.
Laughter is as much of a staple around there as the patrons. It’s a good thing, because Nick and Tammy have had their share of situations that would make a more starched crowd turn a stiff upper lip.
One such time according to Nick was when the fountain machine blew a gasket. Because the lines are under such pressure, the spicket began to spray like the old time Wham-O Water Wiggle. Instead of cussin’, the air was filled with laughter as people grabbed whatever cover they could from the fizzy rain shower.
Nick also laughs when customers get their orders. As the server calls out the person’s first name, Nick watches to see if the real person will get it or if some other hungry patron tries to lay claim by being “Bob” for the day. Nick says it’s almost like a game and everyone takes it in good fun as the true owner takes claim of his or her much-anticipated dish.
The bottom line is that while many restaurants are opting for what is easy, Nicky D’s is committed to pleasing their customers and making a trip to their restaurant a memorable experience — with or without the U-turn.
Nicky D’s also has a new Web site, which can be found in a link on the Crowley Star Web site at www.crowleystar.net, where history and info about this loved establishment can be found.
My friends said they will soon come back to Nicky D’s, and, if I’m lucky, they may even make the U-turn and come see me.
Steve Ashley is a long time Crowley resident and frequent lover of burgers. He can be reached at email@example.com.