When Nick Sarillo began building his restaurant more than 15 years ago, he wanted to create a place where his young children could have fun and feel welcome. So he filled converted dairy barns with rustic treasures, tons of taxidermy, fish tanks and fun things to discover. He also developed a menu of well-priced foods centered on delicious, crispy, thin-crust pizza.
Instead of bread baskets, each table offers baskets of peanuts. (This is not a spot for allergy sufferers, a fact acknowledged with signs before you enter.) My sons loved that the restaurant encouraged them to just throw their shells on the floor. "Mom, they want us to make a mess here. It's awesome!" In the early evenings, booths and large tables are all filled with families, making for a lively and friendly atmosphere.
Even though everything from the sauce to the Italian beef is made in-house, service is quick. Pizza makers at Nick's have to become certified in the process, including being able to make a large sausage pizza in a minute. We learned this fun fact when we participated in the Nick's Troop Tour, a special opportunity for scout troops and family groups.
For just $9 per child, you receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility, culminating in a chance for each child to make his own small pizza with one topping. It's very hands-on and interesting since the kitchen continues to operate around the kids. Arrangements must be made in advance.
During the tour we discovered that each certified member of Nick's team signs a special pledge to uphold the restaurant's philosophy of creating a welcoming atmosphere with good quality food and friendly service.
We found that everyone we met at Nick's Pizza & Pub, including the ever-present owner, upheld this pledge, going the extra mile to make sure we enjoyed our experience.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.