Unfortunately, I had a very good dealer of mine in suburban Kansas City - Accent Sound - close their doors after over 40 years of business. The last three years of their existence was at a location that was near the very busy intersection at 135th and Metcalf in Overland Park. The owner, Herb Mooney, had just turned 75 and decided to close the doors as he had no one that was in his family that would take over the business. I worked many dealer events there and also conducted a number of meetings late in the day. One of the reasons that I tried to be there late in the day was to take the sales staff across the parking lot to Nick and Jake's, a combination sports bar and steak house.
Kevin Timmons and Doug Watkins worked at separate restaurants in the Atlanta area. Watkins was the manager of a theme restaurant, while Timmons was the manager of a steak house. Timmons' restaurant closed earlier in the evening than the one that Watkins worked at, so Timmons would sometimes go to Watkins place to have a drink or two at the bar. It turned out that both had an idea for a restaurant - a steak house and an upscale sports bar - so they decided they could combine the two into a unique concept.
Watkins was a native of Kansas City and they decided to move back to the K.C. area to open their new restaurant. They named the restaurant after their respective sons - Nick and Jake. They opened the doors in Overland Park in 2001 (see map). A second location was opened in north suburban Parkville in 2004 (see map). Timmons and Watkins brought in a third investor - Bill Oliver - to help run that location.
Watkins and Timmons also own and manage Wil Jenny's next to Nick and Jake's. The name for the restaurant is taken from their two other children. Wil Jenny's is described as an authentic Texas Hill Country restaurant that features steaks, barbecue and Tex-Mex specialties, food that Timmons was raised on in his native Texas. I need to try that place out at some point.
The sports bar side of Nick and Jake's is state of the art with big screen televisions - nearly 30 of them - throughout the bar area. The steak house side of Nick and Jake's is elegant with lots of wood paneling and subdued lighting, along with large booths and tables. A couple of smaller rooms for private dining are available, as well. Throughout the restaurant are a number of vintage black and white photos of the Kansas City area that Watkins has collected over the years. I love to look at old photos like that and it adds a somewhat charmed angle to the restaurants.
I've been to Nick and Jake's on a number of occasions with the crew from Accent Sound, as well as with other colleagues in the industry. About the only downfall the place has is that it can get rather loud at times, especially in the sports bar area. It's a very popular place for people to gather in the Overland Park area.
The menu at Nick and Jake's is wide and varied. I have to admit that I've eaten there a number of times and have tried many things on the menu. They have great appetizers on the menu from their barbecued citrus shrimp to their chile crusted Ahi tuna. Their Kansas City steak soup is absolutely fabulous. And I really like their Italian Chop Salad, a generous portion of greens topped with chicken, pepperoni and salami, along with blue cheese crumbles, parmesan and a Tuscan vinaigrette. It's more than enough food for one sitting.
Mama's Meatloaf is one of the better items on their specialty menu. It's a large chunk of meatloaf with a ketchup top crust served with whipped potatoes and brown gravy. It's a down home meal that I've had a couple times when I've needed to have a little comfort food. Their steaks are always good - I'm especially fond of the Cowboy Chop which is a large bone-in ribeye steak. Nick and Jake's jambalaya is above average, and their Pasta Limon with chicken and shrimp in a roasted garlic lemon butter sauce rivals some dishes I've had at stellar Italian restaurants.
Nick and Jake's also offer a number of side dishes with their meals. One of the more interesting ones is one of my favorites, the Jalapeno/Cheddar grits - Southern style grits with chunks of jalapenos mixed in and cheddar cheese added. It has a nice kick to it and is almost addictive.
Other than it can get to be a little loud at times, the only other minor bitch is that the beer menu is a little short. It offers a number of the normal beers you'd find, as well as some of the local Boulevard beers on tap. But that's about it. However, Boulevard Pale Ale is one of my favorite beers, so that's not that big of a deal for me.
The service at Nick and Jake's is always good. I've never had a bad meal in the place and I've spent a number of long evenings with the good people from Accent Sound talking about this and that over a great meal and a number of drinks. The atmosphere is comfortable and non-pretentious. It's an elegant eatery with a casual style. And the sports bar rivals any sports bar that you find across the Kansas City area.
It's too bad that I no longer have a dealer just across the parking lot from Nick and Jake's. I did put on a new dealer about five miles north of the old Accent Sound location, so I'll continue to be in the area. But I'm afraid I won't be going to Nick and Jake's as much as I used to.